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Full text of "Funeral sermons by Lutheran divines"

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FUNERAL SERMONS 



BY 



LUTHERAN DIVINES 




COLLECTED AND EDITED 



BY 



REV. L. H. SCHUH, Ph. D, 



COLUMBUS, OHIO 

LUTHERAN BOOK CONCERN 

1918 



Part I 



INDEX— PART I 



Text 

Matt. 18: 14 
II Tim. 3: 14,15 
Gen. 45: 5 

II Kings 4: 26 

Mark 10: 13-16 
Matt. 18: 6 
Mark 10: 13, 14 
II Kings 4: 26 

John 13: 7 

Matt. 9: 24 
IJohn4: 16 
John 4: 46-53 
Isaiah 40: 11 
Gen. 37: 34-36 



Occasion 

For an unbaptized child 

For an especially pious child- 
For a young child which died 

shortly after baptism 

At the funeral of a six-year- 
old girl 

For a child 

For a child 

For an only child of Christian 

parents 

Memorial service for a boy — 

an only child , — 

For a child 

For a child 

On the death of a child 

For a child 

For a child 



Author Page 
Rev. Prof. B. C. H. Lenski 3 
Rev. W. E. Tressel 8 

R«v. Prof. C. B. Gohdes— 15 

Rev. Prof. J. N. Kildahl. 23 
R«v. F. W. Steinhaeuser- 30 
Rev. G. J. Troutman 38 



Rev. J. W. Schillinger __ 43 

Rev.L. H. Schuh 50 

Rev. G. J. Gongoware 59 

Rev. W. E. Schramm 67 

Rev. H. J. Schuh 86 

Rev. M. R. Walter 79 

Rev. H. J. Schuh 71 



GOD'S WILL FOR OUR LITTLE ONES 
By Rev. Prof. R. C. H. LensM, D. D. 

"Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that 
one of these little ones should perish." — Matt. 18: 14. 

Occasion: For an Unbaptized Child* 

Dear Parents and Friends: 

Our life and light is God's precious Word. This guides and 
keeps us in days that are fair, this comforts and supports us in 
days that are dark. When bereavement and grief appear, we 
seek out God's Word. When perplexing questions make this 
grief harder to bear, we the more earnestly scan the sacred 
pages. So now. 

This little babe, born but a few days ago, has already been 
stricken with death. Unexpectedly, in a way no one thought, 
the calamity befell. That in itself is grief enough. But for your 
Christian hearts there is a pang especially bitter in that your 
little one expired without the blessing of holy Baptism. Before 
you could carry out this your sacred duty, the little spark of 
life went, and you are wounded now with what I may call a 
double blow. 

There are some, of course, who would pass lightly over the 
absence of the holy sacrament, because they think it a mere 
ordinance or outward ceremony, conveying no spiritual benefit 
to a little babe. The comfort they would offer is one that we 



*A child may die without Baptism through no fault of its parents; 
again, there may be neglect, carelessness, or worse. The address at the 
funeral may vary accordingly. The case here treated belongs to the former 
class. 

3 



4 FUNERAL SERMONS 

could not accept, because it is hollow and false. Baptism is and 
remains God's saving ordinance, and this especially for our 
little ones. It is wrong to reduce this sacrament to a lower level. 
What we must do now is not to alter any of God's assurances 
and promises but to search God's Word in order to find what 
real comfort and hope is there offered us to meet our painful 
need. 

Thank God there is such comfort also for you who sadly 
mourn today. Our Lord Jesus himself has spoken with some 
fulness about little children, especially on the occasion when he 
set a little child in the midst of his disciples and gave them the 
instruction they needed so much, and we as much as they. Let 
me direct your attention especially to his declaration concerning 

God's Will for Our Little Ones 

**It is not the will of your Father which is heaven, that one 
of these little ones should perish." 

They are mistaken who think that God has disregarded babes 
and little ones in his great plan of salvation. We are all 
conceived and born in sin, and we all, from the first moment 
of our lives to the last, need salvation and the means whereby 
it is applied. And lest any man here harbor a doubt, the Lord 
explicitly states, that our Father in heaven does not want our 
babes to perish, but to have everlasting life. 

We must note that this divine purpose and will lies back of 
the special provision which God has made for the salvation of 
our children. Because he willed to save them he sent his Son 
also for them. Not a single babe is bom on earth, but what 
Christ lived and died also for it. Because the Father willed 
our children's salvation he also sent his Holy Spirit for them, 
and provided a means by which this Spirit might enter their 
hearts and give them the new birth, the adoption of children of 



GOD'S WILL POR OUR LITTLE ONES 5 

God, and the inheritance of life eternal. This means is Baptism 
in the name of the Triune God. Babes cannot be taught, for 
their little minds are still undeveloped ; but they can receive the 
washing of regeneration through the Holy Ghost, which saves 
them just as effectually as the preachiug and teaching of the 
Word saves grown men and women. And so indeed every babe 
that is born again of w^ater and the Spirit enters Christ's 
spiritual Kingdom, is the heavenly Father's child and heir. 
Because of this purpose and will of our God our one great duty 
is to apply the means he has given us, in order that thus salvation 
may be secured for our little ones. God has thus bound us, and 
no man can dispense himself from this binding without contra- 
dicting God's gracious will and purpose. 

But here is a little babe that has died without Baptism. 
Father and mother had the firm intention to secure for it, and 
that in a few days, the blessing of the holy sacrament. Some 
might conclude, that God will let the intention suffice, accepting 
it in place of the actual Baptism. Now, without doubt, God 
does take our intentions into account, even also when we have 
been prevented from carrying them into effect. But we have no 
word of God to assure us that he accepts the intention to baptize 
as equivalent to Baptism itself. Such ground of comfort is not 
strong enough to steady our hearts when doubt and distress 
assail them in the midst of grief. 

Let me show you, my dear friends, a better stay, the one 
provided by our Lord himself in this wonderful eighteenth 
chapter of Matthew on children and little ones. Here the Lord 
does not speak of Baptism, except by distant implication; he 
speaks of what lies back of Baptism in the mind and heart of 
God, of his great saving will regarding our little ones, that will 
from which Baptism indeed has come, but much more than 
Baptism. The Father's will is that none of these little ones 
should perish. This was spoken by the Lord before he ever 



Q FUNEBAL SERMONS 

instituted Baptism, when God's people were still under the old 
dispensation, the first covenant, made with Abraham and con- 
summated through Moses on Mount Sinai. Then indeed he had 
also provided a means for children to receive his gracious 
covenant, namely circumcision on the eighth day. Yet we know 
that some children of God's chosen people died before reaching 
that day, moreover this ordinance could be applied only to male 
children. Were those to whom it could not be applied lost? It 
would contradict all that we know of God from his Word to say 
so. On the contrary, here the full force of Christ's Word con- 
cerning the Father's will must come to our minds. God wanted 
to save all the little ones of his people Israel, and he did save 
them, some by means of the covenant seal of circumcision, the 
others without that seal in a way known only to himself. And 
thus also he now wills to save also our little ones. This is the 
great truth for us to hold fast and build our hope upon. It is 
your one support and stay in this sad hour. 

Because God wants to save our little ones, he has bound us to 
make use of Baptism to this end, and has added his sure and 
strong promises that by means of this sacrament his will shall 
be attained. But while he has thus bound us, even as he bound 
Israel of old to use the ordinances of circumcision, he has in no 
way bound himself. We know indeed, from all that the 
Scriptures say, that no babe can enter heaven in the sinful 
condition in which it is born here. That which is born of the 
flesh is flesh, and remains flesh until God gives it a new birth by 
his Spirit. It is useless to persuade ourselves that little babes 
are without sin, since they do not commit open sin in thought, 
word, and deed like grown sinners. Babes die, and death is 
always the result of sin, even temporal or bodily death. This 
babe has died, and that proclaims aloud to us that it too came 
into the world touched by the terrible taint of sin. It is a sad 
mistake, then, to think that this or any other babe may enter 



GOD'S WILL POR OUR LITTLE ONES 7 

heaven just as it is in its sinful condition. There must be a 
cleansing, a purification, a new birth. Now God has not told 
us just what he will do when our little ones are overtaken by 
death before we are able to administer the sacrament he has 
provided. He has left us in this case where he left the Jews of 
old when their sons died before the eighth day or when their 
daughters died in infancy. We know only this — and it is from 
the lips of the Saviour himself : his will is, not to let them perish, 
but to save them. Us he has bound to Baptism, himself he has 
bound only to this one gracious and comprehensive purpose, to 
save them. With that we must be content. And with that we 
can indeed be content, leaving all else to him who has ways and 
means to carry out his purpose far beyond what we are able to 
comprehend and know. That reduces the measure of our com- 
fort as compared with what is ours when at the death of a child 
we are able to point to all the shining promises centering in 
Baptism. But while we admit this, let us hold fast to the 
assurance which Jesus has given us. His word about the 
Father's will for our little ones is enough; it is infinitely more 
than any substitute which man could offer us. 

So this little one rests in the Father's hands. He gave it life 
and being; its soul is precious in his sight; he redeemed it 
through the blood of his Son. God's will was to save this little 
babe. While we do not know from his Word the manner in 
which he carries out his will in instances of this kind, we do 
know that will itself, and we confidently trust its heavenly 
ability to bring its saving purpose to pass. 

Herein anchor j^our souls, dear parents and friends. Put 
away all other thoughts; silence all questions and doubts by 
this sweet message of Jesus concerning the little ones who are 
not to perish. His Word is our light and our life. May it guide 
and keep you now and evermore. Amen. 



THE HEAVENLY FATHER'S WAY WITH THE 
LITTLE CHILDREN 

By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast 
heen assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from 
a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee 
wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."— II Timothy 
3: 14, 15. 

Occasion: For an Especially Pious Child 

''And he called to him a little child, and set him in the 
midst of them" (Matthew 18: 2). It is a happy day for the 
family when a child is brought into its charmed circle. Fond 
parents hold tenderly in their arms this little bundle of human- 
ity. They say, ''This is now bone of our bones, and flesh of 
our flesh." Here is physical life, always a mystery, and not 
less so when revealed to us in the bodies of our own children. 
The warm breath, the soft hands, the sweet, as yet uncompre- 
hending eyes, the crying, after a while the cooing and the 
crowing, the little struggles of the hands — all these one of great- 
est interest to father and mother, to brothers and sisters. 

And here is mental life. There is a mind within this little 
body. The powers to know, to remember, to reason, are all here. 
Possibilities of joy and sorrow are waiting in the world and will 
in due time awaken appropriate response in this child. The 
power to choose and to determine has been given and will be 
manifested in the course of time. What mystery! What possi- 
bilities 1 

And here is a soul. God has made this child for himself. 
The child is created for worship, for fellowship with its heavenly 

8 



HEAVENLY FATHER'S WAY WITH CHILDREN 9 

Father. It is possible for this child to believe, to grow into a 
loving and dutiful child of the dear Father above, to love, to 
know, and obey, to cherish righteousness, to seek the things 
which are above. This child will have the opportunity to serve 
and minister, in the name of Christ, to father and mother, 
brothers and sisters, and to others beyond the walls of the home. 
How wonderful! 

Just as great as the mystery of life is the mystery of death. 
The body once so warm grows cold. The eyes once so bright are 
dimmed. The voice which rang out in joyous laughter is stilled. 
Not only are loving parents confronted with the baffling mystery 
of death, they are sorely oppressed thereby. Some awful thing 
has happened to their own flesh and blood. In deepest sorrow 
they ask about it. How could this come to pass? Their child! 
Dead! They themselves, so much older, are yet living. There 
are older brothers and sisters. All were cared for and loved 
alike. This younger one has been called. O God! We did not 
know it could be so. Lord. We have seen other parents in 
mourning over their children but could not fully sympathize 
with them. Now we know. And yet we do not know. Be with 
us. Help us. We pray to Thee, who hast a Father's heart. 
Speak to us. Comfort us. 

Listen, my dear friends. Let me try to tell you of God's 
great love. He wants to help you. Let us think and talk about 

The Heavenly Father's Way with the Little Children 

The Heavenly Father knows the little children's need: How 

bright-eyed are the little ones! How seemingly complete in 
themselves — body, mind, soul! But wait — they are physically 
helpless: they must be fed and tended. They cannot do one 
thing for themselves. Were it not for the ministrations of 
others they would perish. And these little bodies are exposed to 



10 PUNEBAL SEEMONS 

manifold physical dangers. Illness, accident, may at any moment 
come on them and destroy their lives. Even more helpless are 
these little ones in the life spiritual. In the spiritual things they 
are dead. Born of the flesh, they are flesh. They are conceived 
and born in sin. By nature they are the children of wrath. 
They need to be made "wise unto salvation." The Heavenly 
Father knows the little children's need. 

Shall we pause to explore the mystery of sin? And especially 
in its relation to our children— born into the world without 
their will ? Why should they inherit the parents ' sinful nature ? 
Why should they be brought into all this wretchedness? Why 
not an entirely new creation? My friends, these questions will 
not help us much. It is a condition, not a mere theory, that 
confronts us. There is life. There is sin. All our inquiring and 
arguing will not change things. It is the part of wise men to 
know and to realize conditions, and if these are burdensome and 
intolerable, to seek relief from them. And there is relief from 
sin and from all its dreadful consequences. 

The Heavenly Father has provided salvation for the little 
children: It is the Father's will that the children be made 
"wise unto salvation" — thus reads our text. They are to be 
brought to the true wisdom, they are to become truly wise, and 
so become "partakers of salvation." 

All persons, including the children, are of sinful nature. 
They do not conform to the law of God. Hence all are by nature 
children of wrath. But it is not God's will that "one of these 
little ones should perish" (Matthew 18: 14). God will "have 
all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth" 
(1 Timothy 2:4). "God so loved the world" (John 3: 16)— 
that embraces the children. "Suffer the little children to come 
unto me," says Jesus (Mark 10: 14). "And he took them up in 
his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Verily, 
"the promise is to you and to your children" (Acts 2: 39). 



\ 

HEAVENLY FATHER'S WAT WITH CHILDREN H 

How clearly and definitely the Father's love for the little ones 
is set before us. 

God's love is always wonderful. Though we were lost and 
ruined in the fall, ''He loved us notwithstanding all." But the 
divine love loses nothing of its wonderful quality when it is 
directed toward the children. He has regard to every little one. 
Let it be where it may and what it may — he knows it and loves 
it. At home or abroad, in riches or in poverty, in health or in 
sickness, in beauty or in ugliness, in silks or in rags, in Bethle- 
hem or in Eome — he sees all the children, he loves them all, he 
has provided salvation for them all. 

Jesus has died for all men, including the children. He is the 
Savior of all men. It would be passing strange if the parents 
were provided for, but the children were excluded. Jesus' plan 
is not so narrow. His work was in behalf of the entire human 
race. "And that from a child" — literally from a babe — "thou 
hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee 
wise unto salvation." There you read it. A child, even a babe, 
is regarded mercifully and is considered in the great plan for 
saving the world. Thus it was in Old Testament times. Children 
were to be taught God's ways. They were to be accepted into 
covenant relationship with Jehovah. They were to be blessed 
with the salvation which should afterward be revealed in Christ. 
We comfort ourselves today with these thoughts about God's 
love for us and for our children. 

The Heavenly Father has brought salvation to the little chil- 
dren: "Redemption is purchased, salvation is free." How is 
the gift to be had? God offers the blessing of salvation in his 
word. The Holy Scriptures are given by inspiration of God, 
they are God-breathed. They are also God-breathing because 
they impart God's grace. The Scriptures had been known to 
Timothy, St. Paul's spiritual son, and by these holy writings — 



3^2 FUNERAL SERMONS 

the Old Testament writings — he had been saved. Much more 
will the New Testament Scriptures convey truth, grace, and life. 

The heavenly gifts, however, are not forced upon us. 
''Through faith which is in Christ Jesus" we receive these 
treasures. The truth of the Word works in us repentance, sorrow 
for our sins, and then the confidence of the heart, the humble 
trust, in Jesus as our Savior from sin. 

"We notice how, in his providence, God has abundantly pro- 
vided for many of us. Timothy was born into the arms of a 
believing mother. Although his father was a heathen, the mother 
Eunice was a believer. Both in the mother and in the grand- 
mother Lois dwelt an ''unfeigned faith" (II Timothy 1: 5). 
Timothy is exhorted to abide and continue in the things which 
he has learned, and he is admonished to remember "of whom" 
(plural — what persons), namely, the pious mother and the de- 
vout grandmother, he learned the precious things of heaven. 
Even when he was a babe, helpless in his mother's arms, the 
words of Jehovah were in his ears, prayers to Jehovah were 
whispered over him, he was committed to the tender care of the 
covenant God. 

The negative, or mental, influence of a heathen father did not 
destroy the work of grace in young Timothy's heart. 

But we are to note that Eunice and Lois were agents, that 
is, instruments, in God's hand. They were not themselves sources 
of saving power. They were God's ambassadors to the youthful 
Timothy. The means which they employed were means of grace 
— the sacred writings, the truth which makes men free. In- 
cluded in the means of grace, as we understand them, are also 
the sacraments — ^Baptism and the Lord's Supper. These sacra- 
ments were not yet given in the old covenant (although their 
types, circumcision and the passover, were then known), but 
we of the New Testament church have them, use them, and are 
blessed by them. 



Hi^AVENLY FATHER'S WAY WITH CHILDREN I3 

What an incentive to all parents to be mindful of their chil- 
dren's highest interests — their souls' welfare and salvation. 
Children have immortal souls, and it is the solemn duty of all 
parents to bring up their offspring in the fear and admonition 
of the Lord. 

Dear parents, it is our duty to come to you in a sad hour. 
You have lost a very dear child. For a number of years you have 
enjoyed the companionship of this bright and happy child. She 
has been a beautiful and fragrant flower in your lives. 

What promise your daughter gave of future usefulness, even 
distinction. The hopes and plans and ambitions built on the 
promise offered by her talents and application and acquisitions 
have been destroyed. 

But ought I to say, destroyed? Both of you are Christians. 
When your daughter knew not yet her name, nor recognized 
you, parental love, like that of Eunice, brought her to Christ in 
holy baptism. You remembered and obeyed the word: ''Make 
disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. ' ' Scripture read- 
ing, prayer, and sacred song created a Christian atmosphere 
about her. As she grew older, you taught her. Again you remem- 
bered and obeyed a divine command: "Teaching them to observe 
all things." How she delighted to learn these things! How she 
loved God's Word! The Bible stories not only interested her, 
they led her to ask many questions, and she tried to do the things 
God's Word told her to do. How great and warm was her love 
for Jesus ! She never tired of hearing and reading about him. 

Your daughter was one of our brightest and most faithful 
Sunday-school members. Bright and apt, full of life and vigor. 
But she loved and trusted Jesus too well to let evil control her. 
She had her faults. But she always was ashamed of these when 
they were pointed out to her. She repented of them, she asked 
Jesus to forgive her, and had the assurance that he heard her 
prayer and forgave her all her sins. 



14 rUNERAL SERMONS 

Do you remember the Sunday afternoon I called at your 
home, when a number of children were gathered, in the sunshine 
of a bright summer day, in your garden? Your daughter left 
the children and followed me into the house. We talked about 
many things, among them about God's kingdom. I had prayer 
before I left. How devoutly she folded her hands! And when 
I began the Lord's Prayer, she was the first to join in repeating 
that prayer of prayers. 

All too soon, it seems to you, she has been taken away. But 
you are resigned, as Christian parents should be, to the will of 
God. And of this one thing, to comfort and cheer you as long as 
you live, you are certain: she died trusting in Jesus' blood and 
righteousness. As she lay ill unto death, in that upper room, I 
read the holy Scriptures. Then we had prayer together each time 
I called. The last time, when strength was fast failing, I asked 
her to fold her hands and pray her evening prayer. She did so. 
Falteringly, but confidently, came the words: 

''Now I lay me down to sleep, 

I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. 
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take. 
And this I ask for Jesus' sake.'* 

Sweetly she fell asleep in Jesus. Happy will be her waking 
on resurrection day. 

May you parents continue to be faithful preachers of truth 
and righteousness in your home. Let the children, by word and 
deed, by love and kindness, by devotion to Christ and the church, 
be a comfort to the parents. Thus may you live a happy family 
on earth, and may you all meet in heaven, a complete and glori- 
fied family before the throne of God. Then shall we all realize 
fully that the Heavenly Father's way with the little children and 
with us all has been a right and good and saving way. Amen. 



SAVING LIFE BY TAKING LIFE 

By Rev. C. B. Gohdes 

**. . . God did send mc before you to preserve life." — Gen. 45: 5. 

Occasion: Funeral sermon for a young child which died shortly 

after baptism 

The existence of evil in this world has been a subject of 
anxious speculation since time immemorial. No one can escape 
evil. Its pall darkens sooner or later every life, no matter how 
exalted, how successful, or how happy. The materialist, to 
escape the sting of pain, denies its existence. To him, every 
species of evil is only good in an incipient stage of existence. 
Even harlotry, dishonesty, idolatry, are to him not positive evils, 
but stepping-stones to future perfection. Of a continued exist- 
ence beyond the dark portals of death he is unaware; of a rev- 
elation whereby the light of heaven is flashed into our darkness 
he is wilfully ignorant. Hence his contracted view; hence his 
utter powerlessness to bestow and to receive solace in hours of 
heartbreak. 

Such an hour has come into this home. We deny none of the 
heart-rending features of this sorrow. A bud which gave promise 
of fairest bloom has been broken from the parent stem by the 
blast of death. The sweet voice of a child has been hushed by 
death, this relentless creator of silence. The tiny infant life, to 
which every tendril of your heart clung in passionate clasp, 
shall sink beneath the sod before your eyes. Here is a challenge 
to all the powers of the created universe to impart comfort. In 
a grief such as this, expressions of human sympathy are mean- 
ingless platitudes. The warm grasp of the friendly hand can 

15 



IQ FUNERAL SERMONS 

only accentuate the helplessness of human love, of even the most 
devoted and unselfish. Miserable comforters are we all! But 
our eyes behold another presence than that of death. The eye of 
faith beholds a presence which irradiates corpse and coffin with 
streams of celestial light, which discloses the grave as the very 
gate of life, which draws you, weeping parents, into the embrace 
of an almighty friend. Christ is here, the God of love and life 
and solace. He is not a voiceless witness of your grief. He lays 
a comforting message upon the lips that are still. ''God did send 
me before you to preserve life" — this is the farewell message of 
your child. 

Our text furnishes a concrete illustration of the great evan- 
gelical truth that all things must work for good to them that 
love God, The reality of evil and the guilt of sin is not denied. 
However, it shows God at the loom of providence, weaving the 
woof of evil, even of sin committed in the free exercise of lib- 
erty, into the warp of his eternal, immutable plan; entwining 
the gold of his love with the sable thread of human woe; con- 
stantly making grief a minister to godly character, and tribula- 
tion a condition most favorable to salvation. Joseph's brethren 
had sinned. They had robbed the father of his son; the son of 
home, of father, of liberty. A blighting, damnable, inexcusable 
sin had been committed. But divine love touches the evil, and it 
results at a time of famine in the preservation of the very family 
from which the Savior was to spring in the fulness of time. Love 
touches the sinner, and, amid tears of repentance, brother hearts 
are united, and sinners are reconciled to God. Your broken 
hearts, parents, may not feel at the present time the comfort 
of the truth, but as Christians you will, you must, believe the 
truth that God is mightier than death, that love rules in this 
bereavement, that death has come to your home, not as a foe, but 
as God's messenger, to confer upon the child and yourselves 
unutterable blessings. 



SAVING LIFE BY TAKING LIFE I7 

No doubt, when you stood with your darling child at the 
baptismal font, you meant to keep the promise then made, 
namely, to rear the child in the knowledge and fear of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. But are you aware of the dark possibilities of evil 
which gloom beneath every human life, even the most promising? 
The safety of that young soul was in your hands at best but rela- 
tive. It is absolute in the hands of God. To you the death of 
your babe feels like a cruel blow, like a night dark and chill and 
unrelieved by a single star-beam. To the babe, however, it means 
the preservation from vast possibilities of evil. 

You are both still young. You are still climbing the ascending 
slope of life where the lamp of hope burns bright and many a 
flower of joy blooms, but already you have tasted the stern 
realities of life. You have learned 

"That life is not an idle ore^ 

But heated hot with burning fears, 
And steeped in baths of scalding tears, 
And battered with the shocks of doom 
To shape and use.'' 

Your babe, however, has been delivered from the pains of dis- 
ease, and possibly from the pangs of death at a time when it 
would have known both the sweetness of life and the horror of 
d^ath. It has been delivered from the ingratitude of men, their 
base treachery, their fickleness and deception. It has been de- 
livered from the fierce struggle of existence, taking place all 
around us with almost brutal intensity. It has been delivered 
from the possibility of poverty, from the fret of care, from the 
necessity of grinding toil. 

But this is not all. The foes mentioned are trivial in com- 
parison with those who threaten the soul and its peace with 
God. We saw the boy, dedicated to God in Holy Baptism, 
present himself at the confirmation altar in comparative spirit- 



18 FUNERALSERMONS 

iial maturity, and our hearts were jubilant when we beheld the 
promise of future power, purity and devotion to duty. We saw 
the same lad attain to manhood's estate, only to forget every 
thought of convenanted duty. We saw him turn with Esau-like 
perversity from Christ and his Church, from Christ and his 
righteousness, from Christ and his hope. We saw heirs of God's 
covenant become foes of purity, victims of intemperance, base 
ingrates toward father, mother, and pastor. We saw them live 
a Christless life; we saw them die a Christless death; we saw 
them go down to Christless graves. 

Such as these need our tears, not the lambs of Christ whom 
the Shepherd takes to heaven. True! nature demands her right, 
and you may moisten with the heart-mist of your tears the tiny 
marble brow, upon which the cold dew of death has scarce dried. 
But let the significance of your tears be not only grief over a 
vanished life, but also gratitude, because the angel of death has 
delivered your child from the inevitable ills of human life, and, 
above all, from the possibilities of sin, which may arouse an 
Absalom in the house of a David. 

Then, think of the happy life to which death's hand has 
summoned your child after brief probation in this vale of tears. 
It is now in heaven. The coffin does not enclose your child. The 
grave shall not contain it. Coffin and grave are entitled to 
nothing but the tenement of clay from which the soul has sped 
to the Father's house. The soul — that bit of divinity in a body 
created out of the dust of the earth — has not been vanquished 
but delivered. While you gaze through the veil of tears at the 
recumbent body the child's soul is dwelling in the eternal light. 
As Christians we have the right to penetrate the gloom of death's 
presence on the very field of his victory, and to rejoice in the 
eternal realities of the heavenly kingdom. Oh! were our sight 
not cramped and fore-shortened by the limitations of this earth- 



SAVING LIFE BY TAKING LIFE IQ 

life, we should behold a vision of beauty so entrancing that our 
sighs would be turued into psalms. 

You would see the hills of paradise, and rolling between them, 
a silver flood — the river of life. You would see the palm trees 
of heaven, their melodious whispers accompanying the heart- 
stirring, soul-calming music of angelic harps. You would see the 
million million babes which have been transplanted by death to 
heaven, maturing amid the perfect conditions of God's immedi- 
ate presence. Shut out is every fault that mars, every grief that 
singes the wings of the soul, every possibility of fall and failure. 
Amid fountains of perennial bloom, in scented groves whose 
festoons symbolize the clasp of celestial joy, by the crystal sea 
where the saints cast down their crowns to magnify the Lamb 
to whose blood they owe their sainthood and their home, the 
redeemed are seen in the pure, blended enjoyment of every 
faculty of soul and body. And there, if you exchange the vision 
of grief for the vision of faith, you will see your babe in the 
grasp of Christ, its beautiful brother, rejoicing in the love which 
created it for such joys as these. 

Only in the transfiguring light of such a vision can you stand 
at your child's coffin possessed of resignation and comfort. The 
tiny knoll in yonder God's acre is not the end of your hope, but 
its test; not the end of the life whose passing you have wit- 
nessed, but the gate to a fairer beginning. The soul is set free, 
and beneath the hillock which you will garland with flowers and 
moisten with tears, the Spirit of God is weaving the resurrection 
body upon the loom of life; and when God's bugles announce 
that the reign of death is over, you shall draw into your embrace 
the self-same child which God has taken. 

You ask what warrant I have to proclaim such a gospel of 
hope and joy in view of these insignia of death? My warrant is 
the love of God so all-embracing that the tiniest life as well as 
the most resplendent may find shelter from every storm. My 



20 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



warrant is the love of Christ, through the shedding of whose 
blood your child came into the world created and redeemed for 
heaven. My warrant is the sacramental dew which was sprinkled 
upon this brow from on high in token of an eternal covenant, 
of which death is not the termination, but the fruition. Weep 
not for your child, father and mother ! It has come to the kiss 
and clasp of its Savior ; it is safe for evermore ! 

But is not the apparent victory of death a deliverance for 
3^ou also? The holiness of your love is indeed attested by your 
submission to the omnipotent hand whose tenderness cannot but 
be felt as sternness at such a time as this. Yet, how easily does 
even such a holy affection as a father's and mother's love degen- 
erate into idolatry! The child is regarded by many not as a 
mere trust, but as a possession. An effeminate love coddles and 
cossets, but does not discipline it ; suffers it to play when it ought 
to pray, to rule when it ought to obey; permits it to neglect the 
holy duties of religion, instead of compelling it at once to recog- 
nize life as a school for heaven. The result is that even in the 
homes of Christians children are to be found who are spoiled, 
petted tyrants rather than lambs of Jesus' fold. From this 
danger, so great that it can be conquered only by the grace of 
God, you have been delivered. Your child has been transferred 
to the perfect tutelage of the heavenly Teacher from which it 
shall come forth lustrous with the image divine. Beyond the 
least doubt, your child is forever safe. What a comfort in your 
grief ! 

You have been delivered likewise for a closer communion 
with heaven. With longing and joy you anticipated the time 
when your child might fold its hands and lisp its prayers. I 
know, when you kneel tonight close by the empty cradle, your 
prayers will be sobbed rather than uttered. But purer, sweeter, 
more spiritual your worship will be for the transfer of the tiny 
supplicant to the heavenly home where every thought turns to 



SAVING LIFE BY TAKING LIFE 21 

worship. Seeing j^our babe on the bosom of Christ, you will 
feel, coming adown from the supernal heights, the touch of the 
vanished hand, the sound of the voice that is still; and the 
praj^ers your child utters in heaven for you and the safe con- 
summation of your pilgrimage, will secure for you a greater zeal 
to reach that country which now holds every treasure in which 
your affections center. 

Viewing your loss in the spirit of faith, you will have a better 
and more spiritual way of communing with your child than have 
the people of the world. They cry to the deaf clay beneath them 
to answer their hearts' yearning. At the very time of Sunday 
worship they are likely to be found garlanding the grave with 
flowers. The grave, and not heaven, is to them the place where 
their departed children are guarded. Your vision, however, is 
clearer, for it is lit by faith. You know your child is with 
Christ. Therefore, whatever brings you close to Christ, will 
bring within the range of your faith the child, which is not lost, 
but kept under the vigilant guardianship of the Good Shepherd 
for your discipline in the faith. When you worship God in the 
Spirit and in truth; when you drink God's peace from the 
communion cup, you touch the hand of Christ. In the hour of 
worship, whether at home or in church, your babe is nigh in 
Christ, to cheer you with thoughts of the upper world ; to thank 
and to bless you for having ushered it through birth into God's 
redeemed world, and through the sacrament into the kingdom 
of heaven. Believing this, you will not endeavor to reach the 
silent clay with the voice of morbid grief. Rather will you in 
the hour of prayer, send greetings to your child through the 
Shepherd on whose bosom it rests, and thank God that it is so 
much more yours for having been surrendered to the safe-keeping 
of Jesus. 



22 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Lonely, weeping mother, believest thou this? 

"Long months the hours were filled with hope divine, 
By dainty garments silently confessed; 
In toil and travail-pain I acquiesced, 
And thrilled to feel thy baby fingers twine 
My own, like tendrils of a clinging vine. 
Once, only once, upon thy mother's breast, 
Thy little hands and baby lips were pressed; 
Then God recalled thee, oh, sweet darling mine. 

"And did it pay, the agonizing pain, 

The disappointment and the plans overthrown? 
Yes, richly pay, since through my pain a soul. 
And that my child's, eternal joy did gain; 
And as the endless ages slowly roll. 
My recompense shall be to love my own." 

Mother! is this thy faith? Then blessed are you. The child 
in heaven shall be a power to preserve your soul in the kingdom 
of God. Amen. 



IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD 
By Prof. J. N. KHdahl 

**. . . Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well."— 
II Kings 4: 26. 

Occasion: At the funeral of a six-year-old girl 

The Shunammite woman had a child, a gift of God to her. 
And she loved that child as only a mother can love her own child. 
That child was the joy of her life. But now this child was dead, 
and her soul was vexed within her; her heart was filled with 
grief. And still when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, met her and 
asked her, ''Is it well with the child?" she answered, "It is 
well/' Her heart was heavy with grief. She would not have been 
a mother, if that had not been the case. But she knew that it was 
well with the child. She lifted the eyes of her faith above the 
little lifeless body, and saw that it was well with the child. "If 
thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God." These 
words Christ spoke by a grave. The Shunammite woman be- 
lieved, therefore she saw the glory of God, even at the death- 
bed of her only child. 

The good Lord gives to parents a peculiar love for their 
children. We do not know how much we love our children till 
they are taken away from us. And it is a good thing for the 
children that their parents love them, for none of God's creatures 
are as helpless at birth and during their early existence as the 
children of men, and they need that love which does not tire in 
caring for them. But because of the fact that God gives us such a 
love for our children it is hard to lay them in the grave. It seems 
like burying a part of ourselves. It seems ,as though all the fond 
hopes that we have cherished regarding our children are blasted. 

23 



24 PUNERAL SERMONS 

Every time their birthday comes around, we think of how large 
and fine they now would have been, how far advanced they now 
would have been in school; now they would have been con- 
firmed; now they w^ould have been through high school; now 
they would have graduated from college ; or now they would have 
learned their trade ; or now they would have been established in 
business, etc. But they are gone from us. They are under the sod. 
You, parents, also had a little child, a gift of God to you, and 
a precious gift it was; you loved your little girl. But it has 
pleased the good Lord to take her away from you. And grief 
fills your heart ; it cannot be otherwise. But praised be the Lord, 

It Is Well With the Child 

1. It is well with the child, because she has a Savior. We 

have just been celebrating Christmas.* We have again heard the 
old but ever new message of the angel of God, ''Be not afraid; 
for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be 
to all the people : for there is born to you this day in the city of 
David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." You probably do not 
feel as though this has been a merry Christmas to you, because 
your dear little girl, whom you had expected to clap her little 
hands in joy at the sight of the Christmas tree, lies with folded 
hands in her little coffin. But what has happened to you this 
Christmas, I am sure, will help you to appreciate so much more 
the good tidings of great joy. We never feel the need and 
blessedness of a Savior from death so much as when that from 
which Christ came to save us enters right into our homes. And 
we never learn to appreciate a Savior from sorrow so much as 
when sorrow fills our own hearts. As long as death does not 
cross our own threshold, and as long as grief is something we 



*Tbis child died at Christmas time. 



IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD 25 

have only heard or read about, we may indeed in a general way 
rejoice in the fact that God has given us a Savior. But when 
death comes into our homes and takes away from us the joy of 
our lives, and when sorrow is threatening to break our own 
hearts, then the fact that we have a Savior has an entirely new 
significance for us; the fact that we have a Savior means some- 
thing far more to us. 

praised be the Lord, that we have a Savior ! ' ' Through one 
man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and 
death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned." And the 
Lord saw all the sorrow and tears and breaking hearts that 
death would cause. And it moved his heart, for he is full of 
compassion, lovingkindness and tender mercies. He also had a 
Son, an only begotten Son, a beloved Son, a Son in whom he was 
well pleased. But in order that our children might live, even 
though they die, in order that our hearts might be comforted 
when they are heavy with sorrow at the grave of our dear ones, 
he spared not his only begotten Son, but gave him a ransom for 
us, gave him into death. 

2. It is well with the child, because she had been baptized 
into Christ. What a blessed ordinance Holy Baptism is! Even 
before our children '^ discern between their right hand and their 
left hand," the Lord through Holy Baptism takes them into his 
fellowship, makes them his children and heirs of everlasting life, 
so that whatever happens to them, whether they live or die, they 
are the Lord's. For Baptism now saves us, being a true likeness 
of the ark in which Noah and his family were saved through 
water. ''Not by works done in righteousness, which we did our- 
selves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the 
washing of regeneration." "For as many of you as were bap- 
tized into Christ did put on Christ." Or are ye ignorant that all 
we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his 
death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism 



26 rUNERAL SERMONS 

into death, into the death of Christ and all that the death of 
Christ has procured for us and stands for. In Holy Baptism 
your little girl was baptized into Christ, into the merits of the 
death of Christ, forgiveness of sins, righteousness before God, 
sonship and eternal life. Can it be anything but well with such 
a child, a child that was not only your child, but the child of 
God? No, no, for making her his child in Holy Baptism God 
begat her again unto a living hope. The fond hopes that you 
have cherished in your hearts in reference to this child are 
therefore not blasted. You have hope even here at the grave of 
your child. Therefore, in spite of the fact that your hearts are 
sad today, ''ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope." 
But joining the apostle of old in praising God we will say, 
''Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ' ' 

3. It is well with the child, because the angels of God have 
carried her soul home to God, to the Savior, who bought her 
with his own blood, and baptized her into his death, into his 
fellowship, into his life. And there she is safe. 

"We do not know what temptations might have met her here, 
if she had been destined to grow up. Nor do we know what 
adversities, tribulations, cares and sorrows she might have had 
to experience, if she should have had to live in this world so full 
of sin, danger and troubles. 

Many are the parents who have entertained great hopes 
regarding the future of their children, but who later have shed 
bitter tears on account of these same children, because they did 
not turn out they way they had expected. And many a child has 
dreamed beautiful dreams of a bright career before it, but has 
been sorely disappointed because it did not find what it had 
looked for. It is therefore well to remember the admonition of 



IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD 27 

the Lord, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not 
what a day may bring forth.'' 

We know absolutely nothing about what might have been the 
lot of this child on earth. But now we know that it is well with 
the child. We know that she is with Jesus in Paradise. And we 
are of good courage, because we know that being "absent from 
the body" she is "at home with the Lord." Can there be any- 
thing better than to be at home with the Lord? And we do not 
only know that it is well with the child, but we also know that 
from now on it will always be well with her. The possibility of a 
change for anything but that which is well is for ever removed. 
The tempter never enters the Paradise into which she has been 
received. Sin is not there, and therefore no sorrow and no pain. 
That soul which has been carried by the angels into the bosom of 
Abraham is not only comforted, but is forever safe. 

4. It is well with the child, because the Lord will raise her 
body from the dead. We cannot deny that although we know 
that the souls of our dear ones are in the hand of the Lord, and 
that they are at home with the Lord, and that although our hearts 
are comforted by this assurance, it is still a hard ordeal to go 
through to lay their bodies in the grave. For our dear ones do 
not only have a soul; they also have a body, and it is through 
the body that the soul has been working, and it is by the body 
especially that we have known them while they were with us. It 
is then not easy to put away the dear body under the sod. 

But thanks be to God! "The hour cometh, in which all that 
are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they 
shall come forth. " " The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, 
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of 
God ; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. ' ' John tells us in the 
Revelation which God gave him to show him "the things which 
must shortly come to pass," that he saw the dead, the great and 



28 FUNERALSERMONS 

the small, standing before the throne. ''I am the resurrection 
and the life," says Christ. 

It looked dark and discouraging on Good Friday. I know of 
nothing in the whole history of this world that has looked so 
dark, dreary and hopeless as that which our senses perceive out- 
side the walls of Jerusalem on Good Friday. He who had come 
to save us from death, and who had made the claim that whoso- 
ever believed on him should never die, he yielded up his spirit 
with a loud voice, and his lifeless body was committed to the 
grave. But there came an Easter morning after Good Friday; 
there came light after darkness, joy after sorrow, victory after 
seeming defeat. The grave could not hold the Prince of Life. 
A new song was put into the mouth of those who had been on the 
point of despair. 

Our days of burial are also dark and gloomy days. Only those 
who have tried it know what it means to close the eyes of a dear 
child, and to lay the little body in the grave. It looks hopeless. 
But blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who 
begat us again into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ from the dead. As there was for Christ himself a bright 
and joyous Easter following the sad and gloomy Good Friday, 
so there is for all who belong to him. There is a glorious day of 
resurrection following the sad day of burial. And then shall 
''the ransomed of Jehovah return, and come with singing unto 
Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall 
obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." 

This child was through Holy Baptism grafted into Christ ; she 
had received the sign of the cross both on her brow and on her 
breast as an indication of the fact that she belonged to Christ; 
she was a partaker of the life of Christ. She shall also have part 
in his resurrection. ''For this is the will of my Father, that 
every one that beholdeth the Son and believeth on him should 
have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." "It is 



IT IS WELL WITH THE CHILD 29 

sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in 
dishonor ; it is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness ; it is raised 
in power: it is sown a natural body ; it is raised a spiritual body." 
And as she has borne the image of the earthly, she shall bear the 
image of the heavenly. Therefore, although the tears are trick- 
ling down our cheeks, we join in Paul's song of triumph, "Death 
is swallowed up in victory! death, w^here is thy victory? 
death, where is thy sting? Thanks be to God, who giveth us the 
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" 

Viewing all these things, we reach only one conclusion: It 
is well with the child. You indeed would have liked to keep her. 
But you will agree with me that with all your love and all your 
care, it would never have been so well with the child as it is now. 
She is far better off with the Lord. It is well with the child. 
Wherefore, comfort one another with these words. Amen. 



JESUS AND THE CHILDREN 
By Rev. Albert T. W. Steinhaeuser, D. D. 

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch 
them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when 
Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the 
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the 
kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the 
kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took 
them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." — 
Mark 10: 13-16. 

Occasion: For a child 

Here is doubtless the most beautiful of all the scenes in the 
life of our blessed Lord. In whose heart is it not engraven? 
Jesus and the children — painter and poet and musician have vied 
with one another in setting them forth; there is no speech nor 
language where their voice is not heard, their line is gone out 
through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. 

Especially familiar has this scene become to you, dear parents, 
and to you it brings today its particular message. But a short while 
ago it was read in your hearing at the baptism of your little 
one, summing up the whole significance of that blessed act in 
simplest childlike fashion. And now it is read again, at its burial, 
read with what solemn undertones of meaning. Let us seek to 
make clear to ourselves the message this precious Scripture 
brings us today, for the comforting and strengthening of our 
souls. We shall find that the words of Jesus, — ''Suffer the little 
children to come unto me, and forbid them not" — in which the 
whole meaning of our gospel is gathered up, interpret baptism, 
brighten death, and lighten sorrow. 

30 



JESUS AND THE CHILDREN 21 

I. 

Luther, in his blunt way, says of our passage: ''We must not 
look at tliis text with the eyes of a calf or of a cow vaguely 
gaping at a new stable door, but do with it as we do at court with 
the prince's letter — read it and weigh it, again and again, with 
our most earnest attention." lie dwells especially on the sanction 
it gives to infant baptism. And, indeed, it has from very early 
times been regarded as pre-eminently the gospel of holy baptism. 
For this reason, too, it found its way into the Church's baptismal 
office. 

Without any speculation or the least attempt at theological 
theory or dogmatic definition, very simply and graphically for 
all to grasp, it sets forth the good news of baptism. It is to the 
mysterious washing of regeneration what the Christmas gospel is 
to the mystery of the Incarnation. Among the many passages of 
the New Testament dealing with baptism it stands as a little 
child, so simple and tender that every one can take it to his 
heart. 

This lonely Man, his face set as a flint toward Jerusalem, 
halted on his way to the cross by a troop of merry children, who 
crowd about him, climb up into his lap, and smile into his face. 
. . . ITow his eyes light up! It is the one hour of unalloyed 
joy in his whole life. How it takes him back to his own childhood 
in Mary's arms; and farther back, with a great homesickness, to 
the Father's bosom, where he was from eternity, and whither he 
is returning now by a new and dreadful way. 

No wonder he is much displeased at the officious, dull-witted 
disciples who would spare their Master this trouble. It is the 
only time he is said to have been ''moved with indignation"; 
for that is what the strong expression, literally translated, really 
means. It was but another instance of how utterly these men 
misunderstood him and misconceived his ministry. Indeed, there 



32 FUNERAL SERMONS 

was scarce anyone who understood him. All the world was cast- 
ing him out; now again, as at the beginning, there was no room 
for him upon earth; he was on his way into the valley of 
humiliation; soon he would be hanging on the bitter cross, 
rejected and despised of men. 

But these little folk do not reject him. Naively and instinc- 
tively they understand him. They are his friends. And, holding 
them in his arms, he sees the beginning of his kingdom and its 
growth. That is why this hour means so much to him. That is 
why he takes these little ones up in his arms, clasps them to his 
breast, and blesses them by putting his hands upon their heads. 
And when in his hour of triumph he sent these same disciples 
out into all the world to make disciples of all nations by baptiz- 
ing and teaching them, surely he will not have forgotten the 
children who brought him such good cheer in his hour of sorrow, 
like a broad band of sunshine lying across his painful way. 
Tacitly included in the world-wide commission of the Risen 
Lord are the words of the Sufferer, — ''Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom 
of God." 

Now, my beloved, how high a day it was in your life and the 
life of your dear little one, when all this became for you the 
most actual reality, at the sacred font. When this scene ceased 
to be merely a story in the Bible and a picture hanging on your I 
walls. When you found yourselves members of that little group] 
about the Saviour, grown through the centuries into a multitude 
that no man can number. When you brought your child to him, 
and he in this simple rite, this holy sacrament, took it up in hisfc 
arms, put his hands upon it, and blessed it. 

You could not help thrilling and responding to the glory, the| 
solemn joy, of that moment. When you dared bring your childl 
flesh of your flesh, conceived and born in sin, and give it into hisj 
arms, for him to bless and own and adopt, and then to give ill 



JESUS AND THE CHILDREN 33 

back to you, spirit born of spirit, a member of the kingdom of 
God, loved and welcomed by him as his little brother, a child 
with him of God, and co-heir of the Father's glory — surely that 
was the very greatest day in the life of this family, worthy to be 
celebrated as a most joyful feast day every year. 

How that act related you to God and to his Son Jesus Christ ! 
For your child was now both yours and God's, and you were now 
fellow-parents and co-workers together with God. What a solemn 
responsibility that brought with it. And how you set out, with 
fervent prayer, to do your full parental part, so that with God 's 
help it might be faithfully and savingly brought up, to the praise 
and honor of his holy Name, and finally with all God's saints 
receive the promised inheritance. Round this little one that had 
lain in Jesus' arms, as it slowly unfolded and increased in wis- 
dom, stature and favor, you heard, at every hour of the day or 
night, the words of Jesus ringing, so insistent, so sweet with 
comfort, so stern with admonition: "Suffer the little children to 
come unto me, and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom 
of God." 

II. 

But one day these words assumed a different and somber 
meaning. There was a new and strange ring in them that struck 
terror to the parents' heart. They meant more than baptism 
now, and more than training in the nurture and admonition of 
the Lord. They meant sickness and pain, and they meant death. 
And as you hear the well-known words,— '' Suffer the little chil- 
dren to come unto me"— with what a different tone they fell 
upon your ear. 

But she is in her grave, and, oh, 
The difference to me! 

But, my beloved, are they not the same words of the same 
loving Friend of little children? And do they not, rightly under- 



34 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



stood, throw a wondrous and a heavenly light on death? Say 
not, A cruel beast has devoured my child, disease has snatched 
it away, death has reaped my pleasant flower. Death is not a 
cruel monster springing out at us and tearing our loved ones from 
our side; death is not a blind natural force lying about and 
striking down at random young and old. You are familiar with 
the Christian definition of death, Christ's own definition, — '^I 
will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, 
there ye may be also." Death is Jesus coming again for his own. 

Look into our gospel. Does it not shed a radiant light on 
death? Does it not interpret death for us, the death of children, 
in most sweet and tender fashion? Death for them is but Jesus 
taking them up in his arms, putting his hands upon them, and 
blessing them. And since his arms and his heart are now in high 
heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God, — when he takes 
our children up in his arms, he must needs take them out of our 
sight and reach. 

And though our arms are empty and our hearts broken, and 
we crj with David, ' ' my son, my son ! " we yet remember that 
they are in his arms, those everlasting arms that were out- 
stretched for our advantage on the bitter cross, those tender 
riven hands are on their heads, and he is blessing them. Our 
thoughts are on them rather than on ourselves. "We will not yield 
to the selfishness of grief, that thinks only of its own loss and 
not of the lost one's gain. If you rejoiced when in baptism he 
took your dear one up in his arms and blessed it, how much more 
should a deep, strong current of joy run underneath your tears 
now that he has taken it up and is blessing it indeed ! How tender 
those arms and how strong! Far more tender and strong than 
yours. And how loving and wise that heart against which he is 
pressing it — "Er herzte sie," so Luther puts it in his hearty! 
fashion. Your love and wisdom and constant care, what are theyj 
but faint, far-off echoes, dim and broken reflections, of his? Carl 



JESUS AND THE CHILDREN 35 

we not, then, enter into the spirit of that "great woman" of old 
Shunem, who also had lost her little lad, and who in answer to 
the prophet's inquiry, ''Is it well with thee? is it well with thy 
husband? is it well with the child?" replied, "It is well." 

See, that is what he means when he says, "Suffer them to 
come unto me, and forbid them not." We are to give them up 
willingly, to yield them to him not only in deed but in will. 
"Without murmuring or complaint, no questions, no reproach. 
We are not to forbid them, under pain of his displeasure. "The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name 
of the Lord." So Abraham bound his only son Isaac, whom he 
loved, the bearer of the promise, obediently upon the altar, and 
stretched out his hand with the knife in it, to offer him up to 
God. Forbid them not, by sorrowing overmuch for them ; hold 
them not back from his hand and knee and heart. As we could 
not rejoice even as the others who have no hope, when they were 
ours, for we had hope, hope firmly builded on their baptism, — so 
now that they are gone from us, we cannot sorrow as the others 
who have no hope, for we have hope, hope that maketh not 
ashamed, the blessed hope of everlasting life. Forbid them not, 
for his sake and for theirs. 

There is a quaint old legend that carries a profound lesson, 
appropriate here. It has been put into verse by the Dorset poet, 
William Barnes, and is entitled "The Mother's Dream. 

I'd a dream tonight 
As I fell asleep, 
Oh! the touching sight 
Makes me still to weep: 
Of my little lad, 
Gone to leave me sad, 
Aye, the child I had, 
But was not to keep. 



>> 



36 FUNERAL SERMONS 

As in heaven Mgh, Then, a little sad, 

I my child did seek, Came my child in turn, 

There, in train, came by But the lamp he had, 

Children fair and meek, Oh! it did not burn; 

Each in lily-white, He, to clear my doubt. 

With a lamp alight; Said, half turn'd about. 

Each was clear to sight, "Your tears put it out; 

But they did not speak. Mother, never mourn/' 

m. 

But there is yet another side to our gospel, a further meaning 
in our Saviour's word. It lightens sorrow by setting us a holy 
task. "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid 
them not" — that means you, dear, sorrowing friends, one and all. 

We are all God's children, made such in holy baptism, and 
having within us the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, 
Father. We are his children, ignorant, wilful, wayward, — dis- 
obedient children, prodigal sons. We are all children — do we not 
feel it particularly today ? Children, helpless before a great grief, 
our poor hearts broken. Well, what else have we to do than to 
run, like children who have fallen or been hurt or frightened, to 
our Father to be soothed and comforted? 

Lord, to whom except to Thee 

Shall our wandering spirits go — 
Thee whom it is light to see. 

And eternal life to know? 

Suffer the little children — suffer the child in you to come unto 
me, and forbid it not. Come to him and let him put his hands 
upon you and bless you. Bless you with his words of pardon, 
peace and promise, with his heavenly consolation. For, "Verily 
I say unto you. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God 
as a little child, he shall not enter therein. ' ' Mark it well ; there 



JESUS AND THE CHILDREN 37 

is a stern tone in his voice. His kingdom is only for children ; lie 
can be king over none but childlike hearts. This childlikeness, 
this coming to him, — what is it but faith? As Luther so finely 
interprets it in his Small Catechism. *'I believe that I cannot by 
my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or 
(that is) come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me." That 
is the Spirit of adoption, of childhood, of sonship. And he is 
calling again, here and now, in this precious word of Jesus, 
addressing itself in the most personal and direct way to every 
heart: *' Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid 
them not : for of such is the kingdom of God. ' ' 

O Lamb of God, I come, I cornel 

Then, if your child is in his arms, and you also have come to 
him and are in his arms, why then you are not separated after 
all, but joined together in a wonderful and precious fellowship 
in him. Death has not really parted you, but has brought you 
more closely together than ever before. And you can wait in 
patience and in hope for that great day when he will once more 
utter this word of his and cry it to death and the grave ; ' ' Suffer 
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ! ' ' And 
all we children shall wake up in our dark hiding places and come 
running across the fields to meet him, and he will take us up 
in his arms, and put his hands upon us, and bless us. And his 
word will find its everlasting fulfillment, — ''For of such is the 
kingdom of God." Even so, Lord Jesus! Amen. 



JESUS' LOVE FOR CHILDREN 
By Rev. G. J. Troutman 

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: 
and his disciples rehuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw 
it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of 
God."— Mark 10: 13, 14. 

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, 
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and 
that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." — Matt. 18: 6. 

Occasion: For a child 

Dear Mourning Friends: 

The angel of death has entered this home and laid his icy 
hand on this dear little child. We are obliged to lay its little 
remains in its last resting place here on earth. Sorrow fills our 
hearts, and intense grief the hearts of these parents. God has 
implanted in the nature of parents a deep love for their children ; 
and when this bond of affection is severed it leaves a deep wound, 
which only God's word and time can heal. This ardent love of 
parents for their offspring, moves them to labor diligently and 
sacrifice willingly, for the child's welfare; and we cannot but 
appreciate and admire this innate, self-sacrificing love and devo- 
tion usually manifested by parents for their children. But there 
is One, whose love for little ones is deeper, and whose sacrifices 
have been much greater than that of a father, or even a mother, 
that has gone to death's door for them; that one is Jesus. We 
will thus consider on this sad occasion: Jesus' love for children. 

Jesus' love for children is apparent from the fact that He 
became a child: How impressive, beautiful and elevating is the 

38 



JESUS' LOVE FOR LITTLE CHILDREN 39 

Christmas story and the brief account of our Saviour's child- 
hood. The second Person of the holy Godhead, who existed from 
all eternity and whose power, majesty and glory is unlimited, 
condescended to be conceived and born of a virgin, to pass 
through the various stages of childhood ; conforming with human 
rules and regulations of home, church, and society, not only to 
be a perfect example for children, but to fulfil the law for them 
and to save them. This deep condescension, voluntarily under- 
taken, is a striking manifestation of Jesus' love for children. 

Jesus bids little children to come unto Him: This fact is very 
plain from the words of our text, "Suffer the little children to 
come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom 
of God." Christ was displeased when his disciples rebuked the 
mothers who brought their little ones to him that he should touch 
them or bless them. No one, in the light of this Scripture passage, 
can honestly deny that the Lord wants little children to be 
brought to him and that he is not only willing, but anxious to 
touch and bestow a blessing upon them. How comforting to know 
that this child, over which we mourn today, was brought to 
Jesus and blessed by him. 

Jesus planned to save children: The wondrous plan of salva- 
tion is far-reaching. It embraces the whole world. "For God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who- 
soever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life" (John 3: 16). In this marvelous plan of salvation he has 
made ample provision for children, instituted a means efficient 
to reach them, namely, holy baptism. By this sacrament, our 
loving Saviour efficaciously washes away sin and implants faith ; 
thus makes of the child of the world and the devil, a child of 
God and an heir of everlasting life. Thanks be to God, this 
little one, whose lifeless body we have before us, is a child of 
God. He was regenerated through water and the Word and has 



40 FUNERAL SERMONS 

thus been fitted to dwell with Christ and the angels and saints in 
heaven. 

Jesus warns against offending children: "But whoso shall 
offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better 
for him that a mill stone were hanged about his neck, and that 
he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18: 6). This 
is a strong statement of our Saviour. He commends severe pun- 
ishment to be meted out to those who undermine or destroy the 
faith of a little child. And what an earnest warning to those who 
mislead children and cause them to commit crimes reprehensible 
to God and man. No one can read this Scripture text and question 
the ardent love of Jesus for little children that believe in him. 
No one can help but feel that our blessed Lord takes a deep 
interest in their temporal and eternal welfare. It is to be de- 
plored that there are so many, who no doubt love their children, 
clothe them in apparel befitting their station, give them a good 
secular training, try to get them into society, yet neglect the 
most important of all, namely, their regeneration and sanctifica- 
tion, which is wrought by the Means of Grace, instituted by God. 

Jesus died for children: The propitiatory work of Christ 
which culminated in his ignominious death on the cross was not 
undertaken and accomplished for adults only, but for children 
also. These little ones conceived and born in sin need redemp- 
tion from guilt and its terrible consequences. Christ, in order 
to make their salvation possible, lived, suffered and died for 
them. Children need a Saviour. They cannot enter the kingdom 
of glory except in and through Christ who gave his life as a 
ransom for all. You parents made some great sacrifices for this 
little child, but Christ made a greater sacrifice. You have shown 
great love for this little one, but Christ has shown more. You 
have suffered for this child's welfare, but Christ has not only 
suffered — he died for him. Yes, you have done much for the 
convenience, comfort and happiness of your child, but as Chris- 



m 



JESUS' LOVE FOR LITTLE CHILDREN 41 

tian parents you must acknowledge that the Christ has done 
infinitely more for your child, when he gave his life on the cross 
in order to redeem him and make his salvation not only possible 
but certain. 

Jesus takes some of these little children ta himself in heaven : 
It has pleased the Lord, who knows all things best, to take this 
little boy to himself in heaven. We may wonder why one so 
young, just starting upon life's journey, should be taken, when 
so many aged fathers and mothers, that have practically fin- 
ished their course and who desire to depart this life and be with 
Christ, are left to travel the rough road of life a little longer 
and farther. God, gracious and kind, knows the reason, and 
that should suffice. It is the loving Saviour that has taken this 
dear little child out of this world of trials and troubles, aches 
and pains, sin and sorrow, to himself in heaven. "We should not 
murmur, but remember he has been spared many of the difficul- 
ties and hardships of life. It behooves us to say in the words of 
the poet: 

"O thou whose mercy guides my way, 

Though now it seems severe, 
Forbids my unbelief to say, 

There is no mercy here." 

Jesus has provided a better home for children in heaven: It 

certainly would not be true should we leave the impression that 
this little child did not have a good home here on earth. It is a 
great blessing to first see the light of day in a Christian home, 
amid comfortable circumstances and pleasant surroundings. 
Nevertheless every true child of God must acknowledge that the 
best home is only relatively good. There is much to be desired 
in these earthly homes, which we call ours. They are not to be 
compared with home that Jesus has prepared for us in heaven. 
The apostle Paul says: ''Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which 



42 FUNERAL SERMONS 

God hath prepared for them that love him" (I Cor. 2:9). What 
a comfort it must be to you, dear parents, and to every Christian 
mourner, to be certain that this child is with Jesus in heaven. 
He has provided a much, much better home for this child than 
anyone here on earth is able to furnish. 

*'In this world of care and pain, 

Lord, Thou wouldst no longer leave it; 
To the sunny, heavenly plain 
Dost Thou now in joy receive it; 
Clothed in robes of spotless white, 
Now it dwells with Thee in light." 

Dear mourners, do not grieve inordinately over the departure 
of this little child. Jesus, to whom you have dedicated him in 
holy Baptism and who loves children so dearly, has taken this 
little one to himself in heaven. Your family is now represented 
in heaven. May your attitude be like that of David of old, who 
fasted and wept for his child while it was alive; but when the 
child was dead he arose and ceased weeping and said: "But now 
he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? 
I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." Graciously 
submit to the will of Jesus and say: 

*' Though we loved it, as Thou knowest, 
Dearly though we love it still; 
Greater love, Lord, Thou bestowest, 
And we bless Thy gracious will.'' 

Amen. 



"IT IS WELL" 
By Rev. J. W. Schillinger 

"Run now I pray thee to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well withL 
thee? is it well with thy hushand? is it well with the child? And she 
answered, It is well." — H Kings 4: 26. 

Occasion: The burial of the only child of Christian parents 

Dear Christian friends, and especially sorrowing parents of 
the little one which has fallen asleep : 

Our text brings before us a pious woman of Shunem who was 
very dear to the prophet Elisha. She had shown great hospitality 
to the prophet when he was in need. In return the prophet had 
prayed to God to grant her a gift which she most earnestly de- 
sired, viz., a son, for hitherto she had been childless. God heard 
Elisha 's prayer, and soon the pious woman of Shunem and her 
husband were rejoicing over the precious gift of a son. When a 
little lad, the boy went out into the field with his father on a hot 
summer day. Here some sudden calamity overtook him, — per- 
haps it was a sunstroke — and a few hours later the little one died 
in his mother's arms. The poor woman's heart was overwhelmed 
with grief. In her sorrow she immediately made a journey to 
Mount Carmel to visit the prophet Elisha, believing that he 
would be able to give her comfort and advice. The prophet 
saw her approaching, and sent his servant Gehazi to meet her 
with the inquiry: ^'Is it well with thee? is it well with thy 
husband ? is it well with the child ? ' ' The pious woman answered : 
''It is well." 

Dear friends, you who are sorrowing over the death of your 
little son, your case is so similar to the one of our text, that the 

43 



44 FUNERAL SERMONS 

words of this pious woman should this day become yours. You 
also should be able to say this day: 

"It Is Well" 

1. I would first call your attention to the fact that this pious 
mother says that it is well with the child which has fallen asleep. 
The prophet Elisha sent Gehazi to her with the question: ''Is it 
well with the child?" She replied: ''It is well." 

This pious woman was a true child of God. She had child- 
like faith in all of the promises of God's Word. The heathenish 
belief that death ends it all, or that death is simply an entrance 
into a dark and dismal beyond where there is no light and no 
hope, found no place in her heart. She believed that death is the 
end of all pain and suffering in this world and the beginning of 
eternal bliss in the presence of God in heaven. Her faith was, 
that death is simply the gateway from the imperfect life here 
below to the perfect life above. She knew that she had not lost 
her dear child. She had merely given him to God. He was now 
with God in heaven, far beyond the reach of all the sufferings 
and dangers of this earthly life. This was reason enough for her 
to say: "It is well with the child." You will notice that it was 
not mere sentiment which moved her to utter these words; it 
was not merely a beautiful expression of words intended to 
soothe the sorrows of a grief-stricken heart. No, it was the 
positive conviction of faith; it was a firm confidence in the 
promises of God's holy Word. Her confident words, "It is well 
with the child," reveal to us a heart which harbored no doubts. 

There is a reason, dear friends, why you now, on this day 
of your sorrow, should join with this pious woman of our text, 
and say that it is well with your child. Your little one has been 
delivered from all of the sorrows of this world. By your own 
experience you know something about earthly sorrows. You have 



"IT IS WELL" 45 

passed through seasons of affliction. Think only of the great 
sorrows which you have experienced in the last few days. Such 
sorrows your little son shall never have now. God has translated 
him to that land of bliss where sorrow can never enter. None of 
the dangers of this earthly life, dangers to body and soul, can 
ever threaten him. You perhaps know from your own experience 
something about the dangers of youth. Your hearts perhaps already 
trembled when you thought of your little son passing through 
that most dangerous period of life, the period of youth. Perhaps 
the anxious question already filled your bosoms : Will we be able 
to guide him safely through the many temptations which are 
bound to beset him, and train him up to be a Christian man? 
Now all of these dangers are passed. God has surrounded him 
with a wall which no sorrows, dangers, or temptations will ever 
be able to break through. 

God has placed him in a home where there is no sin; and sin 
being absent, all of the consequences of sin are also absent. 
"Where he is, there is no such thing as death, no heart is ever sad, 
no tear ever flows. ''Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
hath entered into the heart of man the things" which your little 
son now enjoys with God in heaven. 

This comfort which I hold out to you today is not mere sentiment. 
These are not vain, empty words. The hope which I offer you 
has a firm foundation in the perfect merits of Jesus Christ. 
Your child is not in heaven now because it was such a pure, 
innocent creature in this world, that God was compelled in justice 
to grant it eternal life. You know as well as I that we are all 
conceived and born in sin. Your dear child also, as innocent and 
pure as it seemed to be, was beset with the curse of original sin. 
But there is another whose merits are perfect. It is our Lord 
Jesus Christ. By the perfect life which he led he earned heaven 
for your child. His merits are perfect and infinite; they are 
sufficient to purchase the infinite treasures of heaven. By shed- 



46 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



ding his precious blood on the cross, he fully atoned for the sins 
of all the world; and hence also for the original sin which beset 
your child. As Jesus, when he walked on this earth, said: "Suf- 
fer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for 
of such is the kingdom of heaven," so the same loving Savior day 
before yesterday said: Suffer this little child to come unto me. 
He took the little one up in his arms. He presented it before God 
the Father in heaven. He said: Here, Father, are my perfect 
merits ; here is my perfect blood which I shed ; with these I have 
purchased heaven for this child ; because of these, my blood and 
my perfect merits, you must give this child a place in thy 
heavenly kingdom. God the Father granted the request. We are 
certain of it; for God the Father can never resist the power of 
the merits of his only begotten Son. Clothed in robes of spotless 
white this precious little one is now in the presence of God 
forever. 

All this was brought about by the baptism of this little one. 
Baptism is the means which God appointed, through which 
children are received into his covenant. When this child was 
baptized it became a child of God. In its baptism it was washed 
in the blood of Jesus, and thereby cleansed of the stain of original 
sin. Thereby it was regenerated and received the gift of the 
Holy Spirit. Thereby it was made an heir of eternal life. You, 
the parents of this child, should be of good cheer today. You did 
your duty towards your little son. You brought him to God in 
holy baptism. You have no cause for self-reproach, for you left 
nothing undone which was necessary for your child's salvation. 
How easy it is for me to comfort you. I can simply point to the 
baptism of this child, and then to the infallible promise of God's 
Word: ''He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Here 
you have the absolute certainty that your beloved one is saved. 

In our text the prophet Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to the 
Shunammite woman with the question: ''Is it well with the 



'*IT IS WELL*' 47 

child ? ' ' Oh, what a question for a mother in such an honr. Her 
heart was breaking. Grief over the death of her only child was 
crushing her. But her soul was filled with faith; and her faith 
finds expression in her answer : Yes ; it is well ; it is well with the 
child. Just so today, dear friends, God sends me to you with the 
question : Is it well with your child ? By this question he would 
try your faith. Will you not have the faith to answer with the 
mother of our text: ''It is well"? 

2. The faith of this mother in our text becomes more remark- 
able in our eyes when we consider secondly that she also says 
that it is well with the parents who mourn. 

''Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband?" This is 
the question which the prophet addressed to the mother of our 
text. To this question she replied: "It is w^ell." Oh, the faith 
which is revealed to us in these words. This poor woman had 
just experienced the greatest calamity of her life. After many 
years of waiting and praying God had finally given her the gift 
of a son. That son was then her joy and her crown. She loved 
him more dearly than anything else in this world. She loved him 
more dearly than her own life. In him she placed all of her hopes 
and fondest expectations. But with one cruel blow all of these 
hopes were blasted; and the poor mother's heart was crushed 
with grief. Even under these circumstances she answers the 
prophet's question with the words: "It is well"; it is well with 
my husband ; it is well with me. 

How was it possible for a mother to express such sentiment 
under such sad circumstances? It was possible only because of 
her faith in God. She believed that God was a loving heavenly 
Father. She trusted that he always did everything best for his 
children. She believed that everything that came to her from the 
hand of her heavenly Father was intended for her welfare. For 
the child of God it is always well under all circumstances, this 
was her faith. She did not understand it all. She certainly was 



48 FUNERALSERMONS 

not able to comprehend that the tearing of her precious little 
son from her and the breaking of her heart would in some way 
be for her good. But she believed it. She believed without under- 
standing. The faith expressed by the great apostle so many years 
afterwards in the words, ''We know that all things work together 
for good to them that love God," this was the faith that filled 
the bosom of this grief-stricken mother. 

This is the faith, dear friends, which must fill your hearts this 
day. You know that God loves you. "God is love." Everything 
that he does to you proceeds from a Being who is purest love. 
He finds no pleasure in your sorrow. "When you weep, he, in the 
tenderness of his heart, weeps with you. You know also that 
God is almighty. "With God nothing is impossible." Every event 
in your lives is controlled absolutely by the almighty hand of 
God. The conclusion is irresistible, that everything that happens 
to you who are children of God must be for your welfare. "It is 
well" with the child of God at all times and under all circum- 
stances. 

I am not able to demonstrate to you just how every event in 
your lives must serve you for your welfare. For example this 
sad event which has come into your lives in these sad days, how 
can I make you see and understand that this is good for you? 
But this is not a matter for sight or understanding. It is a matter 
for faith. You have the promises of God's Word; and you know 
that God's AYord is true. "It is impossible that God should lie." 
Only believe God's promises. Believe that God loves you and 
does everything for your welfare. This faith will be your com- 
fort. 

Suppose that you were about to become the queen of a beauti- 
ful kingdom. Your kingdom is ready. The day of your corona- 
tion is set. A magnificent crown is being prepared for you, made 
of purest gold and set with many precious gems. The skillful 
artisan who is preparing your crown comes to you and asks you 



"IT IS WELL" 49 

for a very costly diamond which you have in your possession. 
He would set it in your crown, and on the day of your coronation 
return it to you in the crown, the most beautiful jewel of them 
all. Would you refuse to give it to him? Oh, no, you would 
gladly place it into his hand; and joyfully look forward to the 
day near at hand when the crown would be placed on your head, 
and this your precious diamond sparkle most brightly in it. This 
is not a mere supposition. It is an actual fact. God has prepared 
a throne for you where you shall sit and reign with his Son in 
heaven. He is now preparing your crown, and such a crown as 
it will be has never adorned the brow of any earthly queen. In 
these sad days he came to you and asked for your most precious 
diamond, your dear little son, in order to set it in your royal 
crown. Surely you will not refuse to give it to him. You will 
cheerfully place it into his hands, knowing that it is in safe- 
keeping. You will joyfully look forw^ard to that great day when 
it shall be returned to you set in your royal crown ; and then you 
shall rejoice in its presence forever. 

Certainly then you will join with the mother of our text and 
say : "It is well." It is well with the beloved child who has fallen 
asleep. It is well with the parents who mourn. Amen. 



THE TWO SIDES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE 
By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

**. . . "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know 
hereafter." — John 13: 7. 

Occasion: Preached at the funeral of a boy who died from a 
contagious disease. Memorial service 

Christian Friends : 

On the twentieth of last month God called E G 



out of time into eternity. For some weeks previous he was 
afflicted with scarlet fever and while he recovered from that 
disease, it left other troubles behind which ended his life. On 
account of the contagious nature of that disease, many friends 
were timid about attending the burial and it was thought proper 
to hold a memorial service here today. We are here to call to 
mind this only child and to praise God for what he did for him ; 
to comfort the parents and all others who mourn with the sweet 
comfort offered believers in the Scriptures. 

Death is always sad; but not every death is sad in the same 
degree. When an old man full of years and satisfied with life 
takes his departure, we look for it. It is according to the laws 
of nature. It must be so. Like ripened fruit the time comes 
when it must fall to the ground. Like a shock of fully matured 
corn he is gathered into the heavenly garner. But when God calls 
a child away, the case is different. We say: Why was this life 
cut short ? why was it not permitted to run its course ? The death 
of a child is always sad ; but the death of an only child is doubly 
so. When the Lord takes one child from among a number, the 
parents have others which may receive their affection and to 

50 



THE TWO SIDES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE 5I 

whom they may cling. But when an only child is taken from a 
household the loss seems irreparable. 

While we extend to this family our sympathy, we are forced 
to say: "How wonderful are the ways of God!" If it were not 
for the revelations which we have in the Bible we would be led 
to doubt God's goodness and wisdom and we might even despair. 
But the Scriptures give us light concerning God's ways. This 
text shows us that God's providence has two sides — the dark 
side and the bright. 

The Two Sides of God's Providence 

1. The Dark Side: Jesus and his disciples were gathered 
around the festive board. He had instituted the Holy Supper 
and thus had shown his fervent love for them and his entire 
church. When supper w^as ended he girded himself with a tow^el 
and began to wash the feet of the disciples. When he came to 
Simon Peter he was surprised that the Lord should render him 
such a lowly service. Ordinarily in a Jewish household this de- 
volved on a servant or a slave. So Peter who recognized Christ 
as the Son of God was disinclined to accept such a humble 
service from his Master. But our Lord prevailed upon him and 
gave him this explanation: "What I do thou knowest not now, 
but thou shalt know hereafter." Our Lord acknowledged that 
there was a dark side to the act, but he held out the prospect 
of a bright side. 

Christ's words apply not only to Peter, but to all his disciples. 
We find it difficult to submit to him, because we do not under- 
stand what he is doing. God himself says : "For my thoughts are 
not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the 
Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my 
ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your 
thoughts. ' ' 



52 FUNEKAL SERMONS 

God's will in the present case is mysterious. Here was a 
home that was brightened by the gift of a son. It was a good 
home for him. There was abundant provision for all his tem- 
poral wants and there was a bright prospect for the future. 
Christian influence was being shed upon him and he Was being 
raised in the narrow way. The boy's whole life was developing 
in a normal way. His mind was unfolding. It was absorbing 
not only secular knowledge, but the great truths of the Scrip- 
tures. Why should God take him, when so many around evi- 
dently will grow up to become a curse to their parents and 
society in general? Certainly there is a mystery about it that 
we cannot understand. 

Because we cannot understand the ways of God is no proof 
that they are not right and good. Let us not forget that man 
is finite, while God is infinite. The finite cannot possibly contain 
the infinite. How can we grasp his thoughts and see through 
all his leadings? Is a father wrong because a child cannot com- 
prehend the correctness of his actions? How often in childhood 
we are mystified by the actions of our parents, even at times 
doubting their love for us; but now having grown to man's 
estate how different all looks and how sure we are that in all 
their dealings with us they meant only good and in everything 
were actuated only by love. The same hand that blesses, also 
smites; but in both blessing and smiting it is the same hand 
moved by the same will and tempered by the same love. 

Then after all, could you believe in a God whom you could 
comprehend? If you could fully comprehend him, you would 
be his equal. When a boy understands all the acts and motives 
of a man, he is no longer a boy, but has developed into a man. 
He is the man's equal. Would you care to entrust the direction 
of your life to one who is your equal? Do you not feel the need 
of a God who in wisdom and power infinitely surpasses you? A 
God who is so great that you cannot grasp his ways ! A God who 



THE TWO SIDES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE 53 

is so wise that you can just blindly follow and rest easy ! The 
Bible tells you that that is the kind of a God you have and your 
experience agrees with this revelation. Then take your reason 
captive. You cannot answer all its perplexing questions. Then 
turn a deaf ear to all the wicked doubts raised by godless men. 
The God that you have is the very kind that you need. Nothing 
else could satisfy your soul. You could lean on no other. You 
could follow no other. This God who is as much above you as 
the heavens are above the earth will do some things that will 
perplex and mystify you. But the creature must not call the 
Creator to an account and must not question his leadings. God 
will speak again and in time or in eternity he will dispel the 
mystery that now surrounds you. 

While we cannot understand God's leadings we can submit 
to them. There is probably no petition in the Lord's Prayer 
so hard for us to pray in the proper spirit as the third one. It 
is easy to say, ' ' Give us this day our daily bread. " It is compara- 
tively easy to pray: ''Thy Kingdom come." But, oh, how vastly 
different it is for us fallen, self-willed mortals to say in the right 
spirit: ''Thy will be done." We say the words in times of pros- 
perity, when all is bright around us, when we are blessed with 
health and work and opportunity, when the heart is merry and 
life is one sweet song, when there is not a minor note nor a 
discord in the melody, when the rose is steeped in dew, when the 
fruits are luscious and when the sun arises in a blaze of glory. 
Thank God these days and occasions come and the heart wells 
over with joy. But God knows that there are other days. They 
must come in a sin-cursed world and they do come. And when 
they come, can we still say: "Thy will be done"? When adver- 
sity, poverty, sickness, pain, dishonor, shame, back-bitings and 
the whole troop of sin's children come into the house and soul, 
what then? When death comes, and the chair is empty, the pat- 
ter of little feet is heard no more, when the encircling arms have 



54 FUNERAL SERMONS 

turned icy and the luster of the eye is gone and the heart-beat 
is stopped, what then? Can you still say, ''Thy will be done"? 
Or do you say with the furrows growing deeper in your brow, 
with emotion smothering the voice and inexpressible pain in the 
heart: ''Is this the will of my God? Yesterday he brightened 
my home with one who was the image of myself. I know that 
that was his will for I was inexpressibly happy. But today, his 
face has turned from me, the joy has gone out of my life, and my 
heart is breaking." In your weakness you say, "0 God, thy 
will be done, but not today, some other time, in some other way, 
in some other home." How hard it is for frail, sinful man to 
pray, "Thy will be done." 

The Spirit of God comes to our aid and assists our weakness. 

He sets before us the perfect example of Jesus and he gives 
us that spirit of resignation which the Master manifested. Behold 
him in Gethsemane. He lies prostrate. Drops of bloody sweat 
ooze from his forehead and he utters those words: "Father, if 
it be possible let this cup pass from me. But not my will, but 
thine be done." Was it hard for the Holy One to bear the cross? 
Did he tremble and shrink back ? He did ; but yet he submitted. 
Knowing full well that the race could be redeemed by blood alone, 
that that was the will of his Father, that divine justice must be 
satisfied, he denied his own will and wrestlfed with himself until 
his will conformed to that of the Father. That was the darkest, 
the most trying hour of his life, but he prevailed. With that ex- 
ample before you and with his Spirit in your heart, submission 
will come, resignation will follow, your prayer for strength will 
be answered and this sorrow will not crush you. 

That Spirit teaches you that all things serve for good that 
love the Lord. "All things." Hold fast to these words. Then 
not only the blessings of life, but its trials and crosses will serve 
for good. No one will be able to show you how this dispensation 
will fit into your lives and helps to accomplish God's ultimate 



THE TWO SIDES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE 55 

purpose, the salvation of your soul, but it will. It takes faith, 
and having that you are planting your feet upon an immovable 
foundation. God's design in your life will be accomplished. 
You take a watch and look into the mechanism and you see large 
wheels and small ones; some moving forward and others back- 
ward; some rapidly and some slowly, and you say, ''This is all 
confusion, there is no design here." But just turn it over and 
you will find that every movement of every wheel fits into the 
one purpose of driving the hands forward. Confusion on the 
one side and design on the other. No matter how confusing the 
mechanism may be to an untrained mind, it is all plain to a 
trained mind. The maker of the watch understands every move- 
ment and fits every part to one purpose. So says Paul: "All 
things serve together for good." If you will hold that fast and 
remember that God is love, that he loves you, that not a sparrow 
falls from the housetops nor a hair from the head without his 
knowledge, you will believe his promise, however dark the provi- 
dence of your lives may be today. 

God's providence has a dark side. "We are walking in it now. 
Thank God it also has a bright side. 

II. The Bright Side: Even in this present life the time fre- 
quently comes that the Lord leads us to know and understand 
his ways. It was so in the life of his disciples. After Jesus was 
crucified and arose from the dead and ascended into heaven and 
the Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost how different all 
the life and work of Christ appeared to his followers. Then 
they understood what before puzzled them and Jesus was glori- 
fied before them as never before. When the Lord talked to them 
of his crucifixion they tried to dissuade him from such a fate. 
They thought only of his suffering and humiliation; but after 
the redemption of the race was accomplished and the Holy Ghost 
had enlightened them, how their view was changed and how 
they glorified God for what his Son had done. On the night that 



56 



FUNEKAL SERMONS 



Jesus washed the feet of Peter and the rest of his disciples, they 
did not yet understand the lesson of humble service that he was 
giving them by his example ; but by and by they understood the 
spirit of his work and themselves tried to exemplify it. 

When Joseph of old was sold by his brethren into Egyptian 
bondage, things must have looked very dark unto him and he 
certainly did not understand how that was a step in the fulfill- 
ment of his two dreams. When God gave him the vision of all 
the sheaves bowing down to him, he no doubt understood that he 
was to be highly exalted. But when the caravan took him away, 
when he was sold and enslaved in Potiphar's house, when he was 
cast into prison for three years, he must have had great difficulty 
in fitting the promise and fulfillment together. But when he was 
exalted next to Pharaoh, when he collected the grain of Egypt 
and especially when his brethren came to buy grain and when at 
last the whole family were located in Goshen and saved from 
famine, then the bright side of God's providence appeared unto 
him. It was then that he said: "Ye meant it unto evil, but God 
meant it unto good." 

In the life of Abraham the bright side of God's providence 
appeared. Jehovah called him out of Ur of the Chaldees, and 
told him to go into a land that God would show him. The Lord 
took him into a strange land. He separated him from all his 
country and its people. Think of the dark days that Abraham 
lived through. Was it plain to the patriarch how Jehovah would 
fulfil his promise to make of him a great nation when he called 
upon Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac? It must have been 
confusing. But he obeyed in spirit. But when we look back over 
the patriarch's life how gloriously Jehovah fulfilled his prom- 
ises. We see the seed of Abraham in whom all the nations of the 
earth were blessed. In the light of the New Testament we see 
what a truthful God Abraham was following and we enjoy the 



THE TWO SIDES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE 57 

salvation that the Lord prepared through the patriarch. The 
darkness has been changed to light. 

Suppose that in this present life this change from darkness 
to light would never come. Eemember that death does not end 
all. There is another stage to human existence and there the 
problems of earth will be solved. Our God is eternal, with all 
eternity before him why should he be in haste? Unlike ours, his 
days are not like a hand-breadth, his life is not like a vapor, nor is 
he like a blade of grass that flourishes in the morning but is cut 
down and withered before night. His years endure and in that 
after state there will be plenty of time to unravel what has mysti- 
fied us here. When life is completed and the will of the Lord is 
accomplished, when we are saved and are over on the other side 
singing the song of redemption, when we shall no longer see 
fragments of his ways, but the whole completed design, then we 
shall understand what God has done and we shall look up to 
him in adoration and praise. 

Even now amid the gathering gloom it is possible to see the 
bright side coming. 

Suppose that this dispensation of God should call the atten- 
tion of these parents so forcibly to the life to come as to make 
it a reality. To most people the unseen world is not real. To many 
it is a dream, a theory, a mist. It is so far removed from all 
their thoughts and deeds that it is left out of all their reckoning. 
Some day death comes. A friend is translated. The question 
comes. Where is he? Can I go to him? Can I see him and be 
reunited with him? And there is born a heavenly longing that 
develops into a homesickness. Now, for the first time, some 
realize that heaven is a reality and that it may be reached. 

An old man lived fifty years on the banks of a stream, but he 
never crossed over. All his possessions, all his family, all his 
activity were on this side. One day his son was married and 
settled on the other side. Then the old man developed an interest 



58 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



for the other side. He began to inquire about it. He stood on the 
river's bank and looked over and one day when his longing 
could no longer be suppressed, he went over to the other side to 
see the land where his boy lived. 

The world is so real. It appeals to our senses. We set our 
feet upon it. Here we build our homes and raise our families and 
fight for a living and try to realize our hopes. There is great 
danger that we may lose sight of heaven. Certainly a great many 
do. Then some day God takes a loved one over to the other side. 
We understand that such a one will never return to us and then 
there is born that inexpressible longing to follow. The follies of 
life no longer appeal to us. A sobriety and seriousness hitherto 
unknown creeps into life, and we follow the vision glorious until 
it leads us home. 

Now we walk in the dark side of God's providence; there is 
often a gathering gloom and an uncertainty that is oppressive. 
Hold fast his hand. The clouds will roll away and when the 
light of another world breaks upon you, when you are walking 
in the bright side of his providence, you will say: "He hath done 
all things well." Amen. 



DEATH AND SLEEP— A COMPARISON AND A CONTRAST 
By Rev. George J. Gongoware 

"He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, "but 
sleepeth . . ."—Matt. 9: 24. 

Occasion: For a child 

In the death and restoration of this child we have both a 
parable and prophecy. As a parable it illustrates the resurrection 
of the body. As a prophecy it predicts the resurrection of the 
body and testifies to the reality of the life to come. ''The Son of 
God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the 
devil." The chief work of the devil is death. ''The last enemy 
that shall be destroyed is death." 

Death and life are opposites. Where death is, taking the 
word in its full sense, there life is not. Where life is, taking the 
word in its complete meaning, there death is not. 

But while death and life are opposites, they are very closely 
connected, or rather related. They are the opposite sides of the 
same wonderful mystery; the mystery of being. Where life ends 
death begins ; where death ends life begins. And yet it is impos- 
sible to note the exact point where the one ends and the other 
begins. 

It is like the succession of day and night. The day dies, and 
the day dawns. But who can note the exact instant when the 
day finally sinks into night, or when the morning is born? 

Death and life are both in our world. We know that life 
came first. We understand that death, in the full sense of the 
word, came as a result of sin, "By one man sin entered into the 
world, and death by sin." "Sin bringeth forth death." Sin, in 
its very nature and essence, is death. 

59 



60 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



Now, if we look at the matter from one point of view, in 
this world death everywhere pursues and assails life. If we look 
at the matter from the opposite point of observation, life every- 
where pursues and assails death. 

Finally, life will triumph over death everywhere, except in 
the heart of him who refuses stubbornly and persistently to 
believe in Jesus Christ. It is not death that finally swallows up 
life, but the contrary. Paul says: ''Death is swallowed up in 
victory." That thrilling announcement, in substance, is made in 
several places in the Bible. 

Even in the world of inanimate nature the same life rises to 
higher forms and conditions through what looks very much like 
death, as when the buried seed reappears in the form of flower 
and fruit, or when the creeping worm entombed in its cocoon 
breaks forth as a beautiful winged creature. This portrays the 
distinct aspiration of man for higher and fuller life — the aspira- 
tion and the faith of the Christian heart which the poet expresses 
with such intense ardor and impressive beauty: 

'*0 Love, that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in Thee; 
I give Thee back the life I owe, 
That in Thine ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller be. 

'*0 Light, that followest all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to Thee; 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day 
May brighter, fairer be." 

It even seems that, under the benevolent and beneficent omnipo- 
tence of God, death actually ministers to life, and is a condition 
or a process through which life is assisted and promoted. 

If death is like sleep, or if, in any sense, death is a form of 
sleep this is obviously true. And from the text and from many 



DEATH AND SLEEP— COMPARISON AND CONTRAST Q 

other scriptural passages this is certainly clearly established. 
Jesus said, ''The maid is not dead but sleepeth." 

There is no question about the fact that she was dead. The 
ruler had reported the fact of his daughter's death when he first 
came to the IMaster, "My daughter is even now dead; but come 
and lay thy hand upon her and she shall live." 

"When they came to the house they found that preparations 
for the funeral had already begun. 

The minstrels are there playing their plaintive dirges. The 
hired mourners are uttering their wailing cries. 

It was directly to these that Jesus said : ' ' Give place, the maid 
is not dead." 

They ridiculed such an assurance. They were too familiar 
with many forms of death to be mistaken. 

There can be no doubt, then, that the ruler's child was dead; 
and that Jesus did not intend to be understood as saying that 
she was merely in a faint, or in a deep, torpid sleep induced by 
her disease. 

An exact parallel, almost, to this incident is the case of 
Lazarus. 

"When Lazarus died, Jesus, who, at the time, was some dis- 
tance away, said to his disciples : ' ' Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; 
but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. ' ' 

His disciples misunderstood him. They supposed he meant 
that Lazarus had fallen into a natural sleep, and they were 
pleased, for they knew that was a favorable and encouraging 
condition. Then Jesus told them plainly: ''Lazarus is dead." 

No possibility of mistake. In that case certainly Jesus spoke 
of natural death as a sleep. 

In Deut. (31: 14, 16) we read: "The Lord said unto Moses, 
Behold thy days approach that thou must die." "Behold, thou 
shalt sleep with thy fathers." 



62 FUNERAL SERMONS 

In I Kings (2: 10) it is recorded: ''So David slept with his 
fathers, and was buried in the city of David. ' ' 

In one of Paul's sermons, preserved in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles, we find this peculiar statement: "For David, after he had 
served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and 
was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption" (Acts 13: 36). 

Here the process of death or dying is simply described as 
falling asleep; as gently sinking down upon the soft pillows of 
unconscious slumber. 

The same word is used to describe the violent death of 
Stephen. While his persecutors stoned him, and while, like his 
Master, he was praying God to forgive them, Stephen ''fell 
asleep." 

There are two other passages which in a very forcible manner 
and connection speak of death as a sleep. 

I Thess. 4: 14. "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, 
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring w^ith him." 

I Cor. 15: 20. "But now hath Christ been raised from the 
dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep." 

We find, therefore, that one of the most frequent, and cer- 
tainly one of the most gentle, beautiful and comforting figures 
under which the Scriptures speak of death, is this of sleep. 

We are not to understand that death is a sleep, either as to 
the body or the soul, but that death is like sleep so much so, that 
we may learn a great deal about death from what we know and 
observe of sleep. 

Let us note some of the most obvious of these points of simi- 
larity between death and sleep. 

I. The outward appearance: The poets and others who have 
compared death to sleep doubtless were led to do so first of all 
because those who have just died and those who are sleeping, to 
the casual and often to the close observer, appear much the same. 
The same quietness; the same peacefulness ; often the same ex- 



DEATH AND SLEEP— COMPARISON AND CONTRAST 53 

pression lingers upon the face of the dead which we have seen 
playing through the features of the living sleeper. 

Little children cannot comprehend the difference between 
sleep and death. To them the one is as the other. 

This outward resemblance, of course, lasts only for a little 
while. Death soon disintegrates and destroys the earthly taber- 
nacle of the body. As death withdraws the soul from the outer 
courts of the body, so it soon withdraws the body itself into the 
sphere of the invisible world. But until that takes place, or 
begins to take place, death and sleep look like sisters and counter- 
parts of each other. 

II. Unconsciousness as to the outer world: When we fall 
asleep the soul retreats to the inner places of our being. The 
doors of the senses are closed; the curtains of the sense-windows 
are drawn, as we close the doors and draw the curtains of the 
windows in our houses when the night falls and we retire to rest. 

So in death, the life does not go out with the breath, but it 
goes back into the deep places of its own being ; goes in the same 
direction, if we may so speak, as it does in falling asleep; and 
enters into the spiritual world from that side of our being which 
is turned toward the spiritual world, and which really, even 
while we live here in this outward world, lies within that spiritual 
realm. 

In sleep we are unconscious of the outer world, except in so 
far as this world presses upon our dulled and inactive senses in a 
dark and confused way, and thus holds us, as it were, on the 
borderland of wakefulness. 

So, in death there can be no direct consciousness of this outer 
world. For the dead there is no possibility of consciousness 
through the bodily channels of sense and sensibility. These have 
been destroyed. 

But as in sleep the soul has a kind of consciousness of the 
world of sense, so in death the soul retains its impression of the 



g4 FUNEEALSERMONS 

material world; a memory of it, and of all that came into the 
soul's experience while it was passing through the material 
world. So too in death the soul carries within itself a conscious- 
ness of the continued existence of the world; of the activities 
and developments that go forward in the world as it moves 
toward its divinely appointed goal. 

Thus the dead in Christ hope and look, and wait for the full 
salvation which will be attained at the end of the world; at the 
resurrection and glorification of the body. 

But the dead have no direct communication with or immediate 
knowledge of what takes place in this world. 

If they ever have such knowledge it must be by the special 
permission of God ; and it must be effected in and through Jesus 
Christ. Because they abide in Christ in a most intimate and 
peculiar way until the resurrection of the body. 

III. Release from the labors and cares of the world: They 
that sleep rest from their labors. They are released from all cares 
and burdens, and sufferings of life. 

The sorrowing are at peace in sleep, and the sick are well. 
Even the wicked, in sleep, are withdrawn from their wickedness, 
and held in the kind and merciful hand of God away from the 
consequences of their transgressions. 

To them that are in the Lord death brings a far more com- 
plete deliverance from the burdens of outward life. ''They rest 
from their labors," and ''they enter into the joy of their Lord." 
They lay aside the weapons of their earthly warfare. Their con- 
flict is ended. Their victory is won. Their crown no man taketh 
from them. 

To those who do not die in the Lord, and who therefore do not 
sleep in him or rest in him, there will indeed be a discontinuance 
of actual sin, since they have no longer power to actualize their 
evil principles in external performances, but they are separated 
from God, and shut up to the companionship of their own evil 



DEATH AND SLEEP— COMPARISON AND CONTRAST ^5 

natures. Their condition is one of darkness and of indescribable 
wretchedness. 

IV. Sleep and death continue, but loak to an awakening: We 
never think of sleep as a destructive condition. On the contrary, 
it is constructive. It builds up. It refreshes and restores. The 
sick, the weary, the exhausted do well when they sleep. 

All this, we are fully persuaded, is eminently true of what we 
call death, viewed from the Christian standpoint. 

God keeps us in death. Keeps the body; not the corruptible 
body that is, or that dies, but the body that shall be. Each one 
his own body ; his own, proper, identical body. 

The interim between death and the resurrection of the body 
is not a period of stagnation; not an absolute cessation. But it 
is a time of life ; a condition of inner growth ; of positive develop- 
ment ; a state of preparation and progress for both soul and body ; 
a movement of the whole being toward the goal which will be 
reached in the resurrection. 

y. Sleep and Death end in awaketning: All natural sleep ends 
in awakening. The soul flows back into the outer courts of its 
tabernacles. The doors of the senses are opened ; the curtains are 
drawn aside from the windows ; the inner life looks out upon the 
natural world, and enters into the enjoyment of it. 

Every awakening from natural sleep is a beautiful parable of 
the resurrection. 

Thanks be to God that in this respect especially death is like 
sleep. Death does not end all. It does not end anything except 
certain outward conditions. Be sure that you learn this thor- 
oughly. Death is simply transition. First a going from the outer 
to the inner; then a returning from the inner to the outer again. 
An awakening, a coming forth. Not a coming back into the same 
conditions precisely as was the case with this maid of the text, but 
a going forth into new and higher condition of real, outward, 
objective life. 



66 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



Oh, what a thrilling thought is this of the resurrection ! What 
a wonderful thing it is to awaken from sleep ! How vastly more 
wonderful to awaken from death ! 

This we shall do, too, as certainly as we do the other. 

When the Master says of this maid, ''She is not dead but 
sleepeth," he says the same of every child of man. Not dead! 
not dead! no one is dead, any more than the ruler's daughter 
was, or than Lazarus was ! 

Our loved ones who have gone from us are not dead. They 
sleep. And if they sleep in Jesus they will awaken to eternal life. 

This is the sweet lesson we learn here at the house of Jairus, 
the ruler of the synagogue. To prove his word, Jesus took the 
little girl by the hand ! told her to arise, and she was restored to 
life! 

It is an exceedingly important thought that the death-sleep 
must be either in Jesus or out of him. 

If it is in him, the awakening will be to life and blessedness. 
If it is not in him, the awakening rnust be to a condition that is 
death ; to a living condition the misery and wretchedness of which 
we cannot even conceive, much less describe; but this seems to 
be a feature, or characteristic, of that death to which the lost 
awaken from the death that is like sleep, from it sleep is forever 
banished. 

They that reject his love, and disregard the overtures of his 
mercy, and live unto themselves, and imagine that they are suf- 
ficient unto themselves, are doomed to dwell in darkness without 
sleep, but ''God giveth his beloved sleep." 



GOD IS LOVE 

By Rev. W. E. Schramm 

* 'And we liave known and believed the love that God hath to us. God 
is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him.*'— 
I John 4: 16. 

Occasion: For a child 

Beloved Brethren, especially dear Parents of this Sleeping Child: 
Among all the temporal gifts which God bestows upon us, 
there is none to which our hearts cling more fondly than to the 
children with which he has blessed us. Dearer far than wealth 
dearer even than our health, are these little ones in our homes! 
And when these precious treasures are taken from us, how it 
tears at the heart to give them up ! Your loss, my dear brethren 
IS a grievous one. In this sore affliction which you have sustained,' 
you have the deep sympathy of your brethren and friends. We 
feel for you, we sorrow with you, we share your grief. The sym- 
pathy of brethren, in the day of trial, is not to be lightly 
esteemed. This fellow-feeling has indeed a soothing effect. But 
I am glad that I have something still more effective to offer you 
m this hour as a balm for your bleeding hearts. I bring you not 
human sympathy, but divine comfort. Heaven has the only'real 
remedy for earth's real sorrows, and this remedy in all its blessed 
fulness, God gives us in his Word. From this unfailing source I 
bnng you a message of consolation: ' ' 

''God Is Love'* 

It is doubtful if there are three words in any language which 
3onvey a greater wealth of truth than is contained in this brief 

67 



68 FUNERAL SERMONS 

text. Familiar words they are ; so familiar that they are in danger 
of being regarded as commonplace and treated with a lack of 
appreciation. May the Holy Spirit enable us to delve below their 
mere surface in order that our souls may taste the sweet comfort 
which lies therein. 

There are two thoughts concerning the love of God which I 
shall try to impress upon your hearts in this hour of sorrow: 
The first is that God laves you; the second, that he loves your 
child. 

It would not be strange if, in this time of gloom, you should 
be harassed to some extent by temptations to doubt the love of 
God. Perplexities doubtless arise in your minds, and human 
reason cannot dispel them. A score of questions may clamor for 
answers which human wisdom cannot give. ''If God loves us, 
why does he take from us our dearest earthly treasure?" ''If 
God loves us, why does he break down the one barrier which 
separates us from a childless old age?" When such questions 
thrust themselves upon you, you grope in vain for an answer. 
You cannot explain these "why's" and- "wherefore's," and 1 
frankly and freely admit that I have no explanation for them. 
God has not called me to explain the mysteries of his providence, 
but, my brethren, he has called me to declare his infinite and abid- 
ing love. "God is love." This is faith's response to every ques- 
tion of an anguished and perplexed soul. ' ' God is love. ' ' In this 
mighty ocean of truth you may drown your every troublesome 
doubt. "God is love." This is the only proper antidote for the 
poison of Satan's insinuations. Therefore when the grief within 
us is bitter, and the gloom about us is heavy, let us hold the 
more firmly to the precious truth that God loves us. 

The evidence of the great love which God bears to us is by 
no means meager or uncertain. Amply sufficient are the proofs 
upon which faith may lay hold. Both in God's Word and in his 
works we find abundant confirmation of this truth. Through the 



GODISLOVE 69 

mouth of his holy prophets, God declares that he loves his people 
with an everlasting love. The life and death of Jesus show forth 
God's love with marvelous plainness. Every page of the Gospels 
is therefore eloquent with this truth, but it seems to have re- 
mained for John, the great apostle of love, to bring to a climax 
all these declarations and affirm that ''God is love." He is not 
only loving but he is love. His very essence, his very nature, is 
love. Love is necessary to his existence. Without love he would 
not exist as God. This is a grand truth. It is a comforting 
doctrine. 

And now, my brethren, I wish to impress upon your hearts 
the fact that it is this God of love who rules and reigns over us. 
It is this same God of love who permitted sickness to enter your 
home, and who has now taken your child unto himself. If it 
were an enemy who hates you, who has brought this sorrow upon 
you, I would feel that there is little that I could do but to sit 
down and weep with you, but it is the hand of infinite love, 
which has smitten you. That thought will remove the sting from 
your sorrow ; it will take the bitterness out of your tears. If your 
loving Lord has done it, then he must have some good and wise 
purpose in view. Our eyes cannot see that purpose, ''for now we 
see through a glass darkly"; but faith trusts God's love, come 
what may and will continue to trust until we stand in his pres- 
ence and see face to face. 

And now permit me to dwell for a moment upon the thought, 
that God who loves you, loves also your child. When the disci- 
ples of old, deeming it inconsistent with the dignity of their 
Master to notice children, forbade the parents who brought their 
babes to receive his blessing, Jesus expressed his indignation at 
the disciples' interference. He then showed how precious these 
little ones are in his sight, by taking them up in his loving arms, 
putting his hands upon them and blessing them. 



70 FUNERALSERMONS 

God also showed his love for children when he ordained a 
sacrament by which even the babes may become partakers of his 
grace. He still earnestly desires that our little ones shall be 
brought unto him and he has given us Baptism as a means 
whereby they may receive his blessing. By this sacrament the 
children of men become the children of God. Cleansed from sin, 
they are planted in Christ and made heirs of all the riches and 
joys of heaven. It is your comfort, dear brethren, to know that 
your child was thus blest. In her tender infancy she was made a 
lamb of the Good Shepherd's flock. You need have no misgiv- 
ings as regards her place in eternity. You have a positive assur- 
ance that she rests in the arms of the 'Lord who loves her, for 
''he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." In the home 
on high she is delivered from all evil. In the presence of her 
God she shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing 
shall flee away. His love for her is your guarantee that it is well 
with her. 

Therefore, dearly beloved, the assurance of God's love must 
be to you a solace in this your sorrow. Hold fast to this knowl- 
edge with an unfaltering faith. Let neither the tears in your 
eyes nor grief in your hearts obscure from your vision the infinite 
love of your Heavenly Father. I pray that this conviction may 
temper the sadness of your parting. May the grace be yours to 
wait patiently for the consummation of God's plans. In a little 
while we shall join our loved ones and in the courts of heaven our 
voices shall mingle with theirs in everlasting praises, and the 
theme of our song shall be this, that "God is love." Amen. 



THE SAVIOR'S WORD OF COMFORT TO SORROWING 

PARENTS 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water 
wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Caper- 
naimi. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he 
went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his 
son: for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said unto him. Except 
ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman said unto 
him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; 
thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken 
unto htm, and went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants 
met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them 
the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him. Yesterday at 
the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the 
same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him. Thy son liveth: and himself 
believed, and his whole house." — John 4: 46-53. 

Occasion: The death of a child 

Dearly Beloved in the Lord: 

Our friends are in deep sorrow today. Their once happy 
home has been turned into a house of mourning. When in sorrow, 
we look about for someone to comfort us. It does the poor, bleed- 
ing heart good to know that someone sympathizes with it. But a 
Christian friend has more than mere sympathy to offer when the 
?loom of sadness overshadows a home ; he has words of comfort. 
Let me today lead you to our best Friend, the Lord Jesus, our 
3lessed Savior, that you may hear from his holy lips a word of 
Jweet comfort which shall act like healing ointment on the pain- 
:ul wound which the death of your beloved child has iniaicted. 

71 



72 FUNERAL SERMONS 

The Savior's Word of Comfort to Sorrowing Parents 

I. The occasion on which it was spoken. 
II. The word itself, and 
III. The spirit in which it was received. 

I. 

In the city of Capernaum there lived a nobleman. He was 
married and had a family. God had made him a happy husband 
and father. He enjoyed the blessings of home. A happy home is 
the fittest type of heaven on earth. There are no sweeter joys 
than those which a child of God enjoys in the bosom of a Chris- 
tian family. The family is the most precious thing which sinful 
man has saved from the shipwreck of the fall. 

But sorrow came to this happy home. The sun of prosperity 
was darkened by the clouds of adversity. Sickness with all its 
anxiety made its appearance. There were days of weary labor 
and nights of anxious watching. The clouds grew thicker and 
blacker until the very shadow of death hung over this once 
happy home. Every effort was put forth to stay the hand of the 
fell destroyer. What human wisdom and skill could do was done 
to relieve the little sufferer, but to no avail. Day after day and 
night after night the anxious parents hoped and prayed and 
waited, but hour by hour it became more and more evident that 
nothing but a miracle could save the child. Who can describe 
the anxiety which lies in the words: ''Sir, come down ere my 
child die"? The child's life hung by a thread. The sands were 
fast running through the hour-glass and any moment might mark 
the passing of the last grain. If the child had once closed its eyes 
in death all hope was gone. Only where there is life is there hope. 

It is needless for me to remind you of the fact that this home 
of the nobleman at Capernaum is a type of your own home. How 
happy you were when by the word of God himself you were 



SAVIOR'S WORD OF COMFORT TO PARENTS 73 

united in the bonds of holy wedlock. As husband and wife you 
were happy in each other's love. There was no dearer spot to 
you on earth than home, sweet home. And then when God blessed 
you with a child the cup of your joy seemed full to overflowing. 
You experienced the feelings of the psalmist when he says: *'Lo, 
children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is 
his reward" (Ps. 127: 3). You shared the joy which God prom- 
ises them that fear him when he says: ''Blessed is every one 
that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. . . . Thy 
wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house : thy 
children like olive plants round about thy table" (Ps. 128: 1, 3). 

How happy you were when in the sacrament of holy Baptism 
you could lay this child into the arms of the Savior; when you 
had the assurance that he had received it as a lamb into his fold ; 
that it was now a member of his spiritual household, the church, 
and was in the possession of all the rich gifts which the Son of 
God died to secure for fallen men; that having been conceived 
and born in sin it was now regenerated by water and the Spirit 
and made an heir of God's everlasting glory. Yes, it was a 
happy day when your child was carried by its sponsors into the 
house of God to be given and dedicated to the Lord and his 
service forever. 

But your joy was seemingly to be of short duration. Only too 
soon were you to experience the sad fact that there is no perfect 
joy on earth, that this world is a vale of tears. Your once healthy 
child took sick, and with its sickness came days of anxiety and 
nights of watching. At first you hoped that it might be but a 
slight ailment, but only too soon it became evident that the 
trouble was serious. You did all in your power to save your 
child. But all medical attention and all human skill could not 
stay the hand of the fell destroyer. Your child's last hour had 
come. With bated breath you heard its last expiring sigh. The 
little heart no longer beat. Its bright eyes were closed in death. 



74 PUNERAL SERMONS 

Its little form, once aglow with life and a thing of beauty, now 
rigid, and the pallor of death has been laid upon the rosy cheeks. 
Sorrow soon trod on the heels of joy and your happy home was 
turned into a house of mourning. Yes, the home of the centurion 
is a picture of your own home not only in its happiness, but also 
in its sorrow. This is the occasion on which the Savior speaks 
his word of comfort to sorrowing parents. Let us listen to this 
word. 

II. 

'*Thy son liveth." This word occurs three times in our text. 
A strange word indeed ! When the father left home his child was 
at the point of death. He scarcely hoped that it might live until 
he could fetch the Savior, the great Physician, who had helped 
so many in their afflictions and healed them of their diseases. 
And now he hears a word which by far exceeds his fondest hopes, 
yes, his most fervent expectations. If the Savior, who knew all 
things, had said : "It is too late, your son is now dead. If you had 
come earlier I might have helped him," the sorrowing father 
would not have been surprised. But he hears the very opposite. 
"Thy son liveth." The disease has left him. He is saved from 
death. He is restored to health and strength. The clouds have 
dispersed and the sun of happiness again shines over your home. 
Your tears of sorrow may be turned into those of joy. Sighs and 
groans may give place to shouts of exultation and peals of 
laughter. 

Can you imagine these words of the Savior spoken to you on 
this occasion? "Thy son liveth." And they are true in the case 
of your child, just as true as they were when spoken of the child 
of the nobleman. The soul of your child has not died. It has only 
been temporarily separated from the body. It is with the Lord 
in glory. Jesus has taken your child to himself. "Where I am 
there shall also my servant be" {John 12: 26). He is the good 



SAVIOR'S WORD OF COMFORT TO PARENTS 75 

Shepherd of whom the prophet says: ''He shall feed his flock 
like a shepherd: and shall gather the lambs with his arms and 
carry them in his bosom" (Isa. 40: 11). When the soul of your 
child left its tenement of clay it was carried by the angels into 
Abraham's bosom. Death is no more death to those who die in 
the Lord. When they die they in reality only begin rightly to 
live. We are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 38). The 
sting of death is sin. Sin is really what makes death terrible. 
But where sin is forgiven why should we fear to die, or weep and 
lament when our loved ones die ? Death only removes them from 
a world of sin and sorrow to one of holiness and happiness. You 
have every reason for thinking of your child as being in heaven, 
in Paradise. Oh, if we could but realize how happy they are in 
the presence of God, in the company of angels and saints, how 
soon the fountain of our tears would dry up. 

And even with reference to the poor, wasted body of your 
child these words of the Savior: ''Thy son liveth," have a com- 
forting meaning. In due time this body shall rise again. It also 
shall eventually live, though for a time it must return to dust 
and ashes. We look for a general resurrection of the dead at the 
last day. Then shall the dead in Christ arise in glorified bodies 
to life and immortalit5^ how beautiful our children will be on 
that day when their resurrected bodies shall be fashioned after 
the glorified body of the risen Savior ! There is nothing so lovely 
in this world as a little child, but how much more lovely will 
they be on that day when they stand before us in the renewed 
image of God both as to body and soul. 

The Savior said to the nobleman: "Go thy way." Go home, 
go back to your family. Cease your fretting and lamenting. 
There is no longer any reason for mourning. Go about your work 
as though nothing had happened. The cause for your anxiety has 
been removed, let the effect also be gone. 



76 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



And to you also he says : ' ' Go your way. ' ' Do not give way to 
over much sorrow. Dry your tears. Do not act as though all were 
lost. Let not despair take hold of your sorrowing heart. Weep 
not as those who have no hope. Think of your child not as in the 
grave but as in heaven, not as a prey to corruption but as it will 
appear on the glorious mourn of the resurrection. 

III. 

And now let me show you in the third place the spirit in 
which this comforting word of the Savior was received. This word 
of the Savior sounds foolish to human reason. The nobleman had 
just left his child a few hours ago at the point of death. It was a 
question whether in the mean time it had not passed away. Jesus 
did not even offer to go with the anxious father and lay his hands 
upon the dying child. Much less did he give him medicine, salve 
or ointment to use for its betterment. He simply spoke the word : 
"Thy son liveth." Had the nobleman followed his reason he 
would have said to himself at least, if not to the Savior: I am 
sadly disappointed. The Master will not even condescend to go 
with me to look at my dying child. I will go home and submit 
to the inevitable. 

Much the same way you must regard this word of the Savior 
if you simply follow human reason. When you hear the word: 
''Thy son liveth," your reason says: I know better, my son is 
dead. I saw him close his eyes in death. I watched his last 
expiring breath. I felt his ice-cold hands. I laid my hand on his 
brow on which stood the death sweat. I kissed his lifeless lips. 
There is no doubt about it : he is dead and we must bury him for 
his body will soon begin to mortify and decay. Everything that 
your eyes see and your hands feel and all your senses perceive 
indicates that your child is not alive but dead. 

And yet what do we read of the nobleman? He took reason 
captive under faith. ''And the man believed the word that 



SAVIOR'S WORD OF COMFORT TO PARENTS 77 

Jesus had spoken unto him, and went his way. ' ' His faith clung 
to the Savior's word in spite of human reason. He based his 
hopes not on what he had seen with his own eyes but on what 
the Savior told him. Jesus' word was surer to him even than 
the evidence of his own senses. His eyes or his hands might 
deceive him, but Jesus could never deceive him. He was posi- 
tively sure that his son was alive and well because Jesus said so. 

Oh, that you might also have such a faith in the truth of the 
Savior's word in this sad hour. ''Commit thy way unto the 
Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass" (Ps. 37: 
5). We Christians are to live by faith and not by sight. ''Abra- 
ham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteous- 
ness" (Rom. 4:3). He trusted God against reason and was not 
disappointed. "It is impossible for God to lie" (Heb. 6: 18). 

The nobleman's faith made him happy. Even before he 
reached home he had the joyful assurance that his child was 
alive and in good health. How much happier he was on his way 
home than when he left it. The clouds of sorrow were gone. 
His heart was full of cheerful hope, of blessed assurance. He 
surely went on his way rejoicing. And so your sorrow will give 
place to joy if you believe the Savior's word and put your trust 
in his promises. The firmer your faith the greater your joy. The 
comforting words of the Savior will avail you nothing without 
faith. At first the nobleman's faith was weak. He felt that the 
Savior must come down to his house and lay his hand upon the 
dying child if any good was to be accomplished. Jesus rebuked 
him for this weakness: "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will 
not believe." But the man's faith grew in his intercourse with 
Jesus. If you feel that your faith is weak ask God to strengthen 
it. And here also will be fulfilled the promise: "Ask and it shall 
be given you ; seek and ye shall find ; knock and it shall be opened 
unto you" (Matt. 7:7). 



73 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Then finally let us note that what the nobleman believed, he 
in due time also saw with his own eyes. Even on his way home 
his servants met him with the joyiul message: ''Thy son liveth." 
And when he reached home his eyes saw what he had so firmly be- 
lieved. He saw his dear child restored to health and strength. 
He took him up in his arms, kissed him and thanked God for his 
wonderful deliverance. 

And you too shall at last see what you now believe. Yes, our 
faith shall in due time be changed into sight. AVe hope to see our 
loved ones again and this hope will not be disappointed. They 
have gone before and we shall follow in God's own time. Oh, 
what a joyful reunion that will be when we meet before the 
throne of God in the New Jerusalem, to be forcA^er with the 
Lord ! 

''Why should I shrink at pain and woe. 
Or feel at death dismay? 
I've Canaan's goodly land in view, 
And realms of endless joy." Amen. 



JESUS LOVETH LITTLE OmLDREN 
By Rev. M. R. Walter 

"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lamhs 
with his arms and carry them In his hosom . . .'* — Isaiah 40: 11. 

Occasion: For a child 

The loving Saviour tells us that he is the Good Shepherd. He 
calls all the true believers his sheep. As the Good Shepherd, he 
loves his flock. He knows every sheep in his flock by name. 
There is not a single one that he neglects ; he loves each one and 
leads it upon green pastures and besides still waters. He watches 
over its welfare ; cares for its wants and when the day of life is 
spent, will take it to his fold above. 

There is comfort for us in this assurance, that we are not left 
to our own strength and resources, but that the Savior who 
plans and executes his gracious will for our eternal good does all 
this through his love for us. He watches and renders care over 
us. He guides and leads us in the paths of righteousness for his 
name's sake. When trials beset us, even to the passing through 
the valley of the shadow of death we need fear no evil because 
he has promised to be with us to sustain and comfort us, to fill 
our souls to overflowing with his gifts of Grace. Many are they 
whom he has led through the Gospel by the Holy Spirit up the 
narrow path, through the heavenly portals into the Father's 
house. Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles and all the other saints 
of the past, of the old and the new covenants, have entered into 
eternal bliss through the love of Christ shed abroad in their 
hearts by the Holy Ghost. 

79 



I 



80 



rUNERAL SERMONS 



For you too, dear parents, there is comfort in this dispensa- 
tion of God by which your little daughter was taken from you. 
True, her history is short. Only six short months were you to 
keep your firstborn, your little Leonora. Your plans and antici- 
pations and hopes entertained for her future, have been shat- 
tered. Yet as Christian parents, the one great hope is yours, hope 
that present in a believer's heart, becomes a certainty by faith 
in God's "Word, which assures us that Jesus loveth little children, 
for he has said, of such, like little Leonora, is the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Those little saints have a far better future than we can 
plan and construct. 

When 3^our child was but a few days old you gave her to 
Jesus in Holy Baptism. You laid her in his arms for him to bless. 
Again he has come to your home and has gathered her in his 
arms to carry her in his bosom to the fold above where she shall, 
with the bright angels, worship God forever more. 

From the words of the text it is clearly shown that : 

Jesus Loveth Little Children 

I. It is a certainty that Jesus loveth little children: Jesus 
says, ''I am the Good Shepherd." A good shepherd loves every 
sheep in his flock and cares for it. But he takes special interest in 
the lambkin. While it is still young and weak he carries it in 
his arms ; when it is hungry, he feeds it ; when it is cold he warms 
it in his bosom, just as the text here says that Jesus does for the 
child given to him. 

Lobk at the example recorded in the Gospel. ''And they 
brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and 
the disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus 
saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them. Suffer the 
children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is 
the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you. Whosoever shall not 



JESUS LOVETH LITTLE CHILDREN gl 

receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter 
therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon 
them, and blessed them." It was the same assurance, dear par- 
ents, that Jesus gave you when you brought little Leonora unto 
him in baptism — ' ' of such is the kingdom of God. ' ' 

Although your hearts are sad and depressed, yet you know 
from the Gospel that this is a blessed truth that Jesus loves the 
little ones, so that as Christian parents you know that your child 
is in the care of a loving Savior. 

In the old covenant God claimed the children of the Hebrews 
dedicated unto him as heirs of promise and possessions of the 
covenant grace. How well Hannah understood a parent's duty 
when she dedicated her infant son unto God. God received the 
child as a son in the kingdom of Grace. So today, God receives 
every child dedicated unto him through Christ in Holy Baptism ; 
which applies by the promises of God, the grace of regeneration 
in the little one's soul, making it fit for heaven. Our baptized 
children are members of our congregations, and saints in the 
great church of Christ. 

In reply to the disciples' question: "Who is the greatest in 
the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus called a little child unto him, 
and set him in the midst of them, and said: "Verily I say unto 
you. Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. ' ' Of such little ones 
Jesus also says: "Wlioso shall offend one of these little ones 
which believe in me, it were better that a millstone were hanged 
about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the 
sea." God takes special care of his little saints. He lovingly 
watches over them to bless and preserve them. In speaking of 
these blessed children in God's Kingdom on earth, Christ admon- 
ishes: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; 
for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold 
the face of my Father which is in heaven." With such testi- 



82 FUNERALSERMONS 

mony of Christ, liow can we doubt that Jesus loveth little chil- 
dren and that he came to be their Savior too? Whatever assur- 
ance is given for the love of Christ toward adults is also to be 
applied to the little ones in the Christian home. The promise of 
eternal life to us is also a promise to our children. God does not 
want only grown people in his church, but like a good shepherd 
that he is, he wants the lambs of the flock to be gathered into 
his fold. 

On the great day of Pentecost when the disciples were preach- 
ing the Gospel of Christ, the people cried out in anxiety for their 
souls ' salvation : ' ' Men and brethren, what shall we do ? " ' ' Then 
Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you 
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye 
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For this promise is unto 
you and to your children." To our children, too, the washing 
of regeneration in Holy Baptism is given as the promise on 
Pentecost declares, and to our children, too, the love of Christ 
is revealed. True, loving, Christian parents realize their obli- 
gation to dedicate their babes to Christ and to strive to bring 
them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Christ had 
the little ones in remembrance just before he ascended to heaven, 
for he gave this commandment of love: ''Peed my lambs!" That 
command is given to us. It means that we should give our babes 
to God in baptism and that we also promise to lead and guide 
and instruct them in the precious truths of the Gospel as they 
increase in age that they may grow in grace' and the knowledge 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that when God calls them from us 
into eternity we may have the assurance that, 

II. It is a comfort that Jesus loveth little children: Were 
death to end our existence and the grave to be the only future, 
then life would not be worth living. There would be no comfort 
to dispense at funerals, no pointing to the heavenly home where 
Christians shall meet and never part again. There would be no 



JESUS LOVETH LITTLE CHILDREN §3 

hope for bereaved parents as they stand beside the empty cradle 
with hearts well-nigh broken, because a loved child has died. 
What a terrible situation to have no God nor hope of heaven! 

But we thank God who has revealed himself unto us in his 
Word, and that he has given us the assurance of the immortality 
of the soul and promise of everlasting joy and bliss to all those 
who die blessed in the Lord. Yet we are so constituted that we 
mourn and weep when death comes to our homes and the life 
of a dear one is taken away. This is because death is the wages 
of sin. Although we are assured that Christ has taken away the 
sting of death and has won victory over the grave, yet in our 
weakness we mourn when our friends die. But as children of God 
"we mourn not as others, which have no hope." God does not 
censure us for weeping at the grave. Jesus in sympathy for 
Mary and Martha wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus, al- 
though he was about to recall him to life. God would have our 
mourning and lamentation to be tempered with the sure hope 
in the promises of his word that speak to us in sure tones of 
the redemption in Christ and the eternal home where the blessed 
dwell with Christ forever more. He has said, "I go to prepare a 
place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus 
means by ''ye" you and your children. He has prepared man- 
sions for us in heaven that cannot be compared to things of this 
world. The beauties of the kingdoms and empires of this world 
shall all fade away, but the glories of heaven shall remain for- 
ever. The habitations of God's saints above are founded on the 
Kock of Ages. To those mansions, the heavenly fold, Jesus car- 
ries in his arms, pressed to his bosom, the little children, the 
lambs of his fold that he takes out of our homes through death. 

Oh, what glory! Oh, what bliss! Oh, what joy to be a babe 
in Jesus' arms to be borne away to where there is no sickness, 
pain nor sin; where there is no darkness, woe nor death, but 



84 FUNERAL SERMONS 

where all is perfection and perpetual happiness in the presence 
of God, It is there we hope — and it won't be long — to meet 
those who have gone before, for you, dear parents, to meet 
your little daughter among the blessed. From whence do we 
receive such comfort? Not from the world, for the world knows 
not God. Not from our works, for we are sinful and cannot merit 
salvation. The love and merits of Christ alone is the ground of 
our hope for redemption. But on what is our hope for the 
salvation of this little one based? Sentimentalism will claim that 
she was innocent, hence is saved. But if innocent why did she 
die? Was she too not born in sin and iniquity, a heritage of our 
sinful race, and hence an heir to death as the cold form before us 
proves? No! No, we don't want sentimentalism for our comfort 
here. We want the truth, the consolation of the Gospel, that 
sweet story of old, that Jesus Christ came to seek and to save 
all the human race. We want the comfort that is found in the 
wounds of Jesus. We want the comfort that is based on his love. 
It is this comfort that the word brings you today. We believe that 
little Leonora is saved, but saved by the love of Christ by which 
he redeemed her by his death on the cross and has arrayed her 
in a robe of his own spotless righteousness. Such comfort is no 
idle guess work, but the clear declaration of the Gospel. There 
is not one salvation for grown people and another kind of sal- 
vation for infants. All the blessed, old and young, are saved 
by the same loving Savior, with the same costly price, not gold 
or silver, but the innocent suffering and death of our blessed 
Eedeemer. Our comfort is this, that Jesus cleanses the souls of 
our children with his redeeming blood, washing away all guilty 
stains from their souls. Could we ask for greater comfort than 
this today, that Jesus so loves little children that he died for 
them that they might be in his kingdom? This is the consolation 
tendered you now. It is this one salvation that is offered to all, 
for Christ died once for all. 



JESUS LOVETH LITTLE CHILDREN 35 

This salvation is assured to those that have Christ by faith, faith 
like that which a little child may possess through guidance of the 
Holy Spirit by the Word of God. The Word of God in Holy 
Baptism gives the promise to the little ones. God's Word then 
is our comfort, showing us how Jesus takes the lambs in his arms 
and carries them in his bosom. Would we have a share in that 
hope of life eternal, then we must be saved, just as little babes 
are saved, by the love of Christ. He says: "Whosoever shall not 
receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter 
therein." 

May God grant us hearts and minds like unto little children 
in things pertaining to our salvation; that we may put all our 
trust and hope in the loving Savior, that we may share in his 
love for little children. Then when our last hour shall come we 
may with childlike faith look unto Jesus to gather us in his arms 
and carry us in his bosom as a child of the kingdom of heaven. 
Amen. 



THE SORROW OF CHRISTIAN PARENTS OVER THE 
DEATH OF A BELOVED CHILD 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and 
mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters 
rose up to comfort him; but he refused to he comforted; and he said. For 
I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father 
wept for him. And the Midianites sold him (Joseph) into Egypt unto 
Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and a captain of the guard." — Gen. 
37: 34-36. 

Occasion : On the death of a child 

Mourning Friends: 

St. Paul writes to the Tliessalonians in his first epistle, chap- 
ter four: *'I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, con- 
cerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others 
which have no hope." A Christian may mourn when death robs 
him of his loved ones. He is still flesh and blood, and it is not an 
easy matter to give up our dearest treasures on earth. It is but 
natural for us to weep when we bury our own flesh and blood. 
But in this sorrow a Christian should not act as though he had 
no hope. "We should not act like the heathen who know not God 
and the life of the world to come prepared for us in Christ. 

But it is often hard for a Christian to rejoice over the blessed 
hope which the Gospel offers. Gladly would he bid adieu to all 
sorrow and thank God for his wonderful mercy which enables 
him to hope for the salvation of those who die in the Lord ; but 
ever and anon he is downhearted when he looks upon the pale 
countenances of the dead, and touches their icy hands. The 



SORROW OF PARENTS OVER DEATH OF A CHILD §7 

spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. The clouds of 
adversity are constantly overshadowing the sun of God's grace. 
This, no doubt, my beloved, is your experience today beside 
the coffin of your beloved child. Gladly would you wipe away 
your tears, cease your weeping and rejoice over the blessed hope 
of eternal life; but it is difficult for the poor heart to compose 
itself. Your experience is like that of the patriarch Jacob in our 
text. Let me on the basis of the story of Jacob's sorrow for his 
child which he mourned as dead speak to you of 

The Sorrow of Christian Parents over the Death of a Beloved 

Child 

Permit me to show you: 

I. How Jacob mourned over the death of his child and yet 

it lived. 
II. He mourned over the unsearchable providences of God 

and yet it was all for his good. 
III. He mourned over the pangs of separation and yet there 
was in store a joyful reunion. 

I. 

You know the story of our text. Joseph's brethren, moved by 
envy and hatred, had sold him into slavery. They sent his coat of 
many colors, blood-stained, to their father with the message: 
"This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or 
no." From this Jacob could not but conclude that his child had 
fallen prey to some ravenous beast. He mourned his son as dead. 
*'It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph 
without doubt is rent in pieces," are his sad words. *'And Jacob 
rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned 
for his son many days. ' ' Yes, so great was his sorrow that he re- 



gg rUNERAL SERMONS 

fused to be comforted. ''All his sons and all his daughters rose 
up to comfort him ; but he refused to be comforted ; and he said, 
For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning." 
This awful loss seemed more than he could bear. Every effort to 
assuage his sorrow proved fruitless. Yes, he seemed to have lost 
all interest in life, and only waited for death to reunite him with 
his child. 

And who can describe your sorrow, beloved friends, as you 
today mourn the death of your promising child? Only a father 
or mother who have themselves experienced such losses can re- 
alize your suffering. Our children are our heart's treasures, and 
it is like giving up a part of our very lives when they die. who 
can depict the anguish which pierces the hearts of parents when 
death as a ruthless foe before their very eyes crushes the life out 
of a dear child and they stand by unable to prevent the awful 
calamity. Step by step the work of destruction goes on until life 
has been extinguished. 

And yet Joseph was not dead but alive in a far-off land. The 
sons of Jacob had practised a cruel deception upon their father. 
His favorite son whom he mourned as dead was hale and hearty. 
God was with him. Even if at first he was compelled to suffer 
much shame and abuse, hatred and slander, yet the almighty God 
led him through darkness to light, from slavery to liberty, out of 
prison to a seat of honor beside the king. Oh, if Jacob could 
have surmised this ; if he could have cast but one look upon the 
future glory of his child, how soon would his sobs have been 
hushed, and his tears of sorrow turned into tears of joy. 

And is not your case much the same as that of the despairing 
patriarch? You mourn your child as dead and behold it lives! 
Does not the Savior say of our children whom we have brought 
to him in holy Baptism, "of such is the kingdom of heaven"? 
But God's kingdom is not temporal but eternal. Does he not say: 
*'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"? Your child 



SORROW OF PARENTS OVER DEATH OF A CHILD gQ 

too was baptized ''for the forgiveness of sin." In Baptism it put 
on Christ. Through this holy sacrament it was regenerated and 
made a child of God and an heir of glory. The difference between 
you and Jacob is this: he did not know that Joseph was yet 
alive, but you know that your child lives. Oh, if you could but 
cast one glance into that blessed life into which your child has 
entered you would no longer mourn its loss but rather rejoice 
that it so soon reached that perfect heavenly glory for which 
God designed it. 

II. 

What a severe affliction to Jacob was the separation from his 
child. It must have appeared to him about the worst thing that 
could have happened to him in his old age. Joseph was his fav- 
orite child. He was the son of his old age, the son of his beloved 
Eachel. No doubt the pious disposition of Joseph was a great 
source of pleasure to his father. Amidst all the heartaches and 
provocations which he experienced on the part of his other boys, 
it was a great comfort to him that this youngest did not walk 
in the footsteps of his wicked brethren. No doubt the rich meas- 
ure of the Spirit of God which was given Joseph showed itself 
early in him and Jacob's whole heart clung to the child. And 
now he was called on to give up this very boy. How much easier 
it would have been to lose any other one of his children. "Why 
must it be Joseph, the treasure of his heart? 

Add to this the supposed manner of his death. If the child 
had died at home in the arms of its father it would have been 
easier to bear, but the fact that he died, who knows where, was 
too much. If he had died a natural death, but to have him torn 
in pieces and devoured by a ferocious beast, oh, how horrible! 
If Jacob had had the privilege of giving his child a decent, honor- 
able burial, but that now his bones lay bleaching in the sun, 
God only knows where, how terrible ! Jacob may in his sore 



90 FUNERALSERMONS 

distress have thought and said: Why does God allow such an 
awful visitation to come upon me in my old age? 

And no doubt many similar questions to which reason gives 
no answer crowd in on you today. Why must we suffer such a 
loss ? Why must this child die ? Why must it have so painful a 
death? Why was it taken from us so suddenly? In short the 
whole providence of God in this occurrence is beyond comprehen- 
sion. We sing in that good old song: "What God does ever well 
is done." But this is not the sentiment of our sinful flesh. Our 
hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, 
and would rather say: ''What God did in this case is all wrong." 
It should have been otherwise. We had planned differently. You 
think of all the plans which you have laid for this child, all the 
hopes which you expected to realize, and now all lies in ruins. 
All your plans have miscarried. With one blow all is brought 
to naught. "Man proposes, but God disposes." 

But all this mysterious providence of God is a blessing in the 
end. Of this both Jacob and Joseph are proof. Joseph's lot 
seemed the hardest that could possibly befall him. His brethren 
indeed spared his life but only to sell him into slavery. It would 
have been more tolerable to kill him outright. Henceforth he 
was to be counted as chattel property. He would have no rights 
which his master was bound to respect. But what was the re- 
sult? Joseph rose to the highest honors in Egypt. He afterward 
said to his brethren: "Ye thought evil against me but God meant 
it unto good" (Gen. 50: 20). It was his greatest good fortune 
that he was sold into Egypt; that Potiphar bought him; that he 
was cast into prison innocently. All these sad experiences were 
only stepping-stones to his future glory. 

And his father's experience was similar. What he mourned 
as his greatest calamity, was in reality his highest good fortune. 
What would have become of him and his house in the famine if 
God had not sent Joseph ahead into Egypt to store up the surplus 



SOEEOW OF PAEENTS OVEE DEATH OP A CHILD 91 

grain for them and the whole land 1 God had cared for his people 
in advance, and prepared for them a refuge. Oh, how Jacob 
must have thanked God after his wise plans were once revealed! 
And you, beloved in your sore affliction, are also under God's 
merciful providence. The Savior says to you as he did to Peter: 
''What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know here- 
after" (John 13: 7). We must say with the apostle: ''How 
unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out" 
(Rom. 11: 24). And yet we know that all things must work to- 
gether for good to them that love God. You may be assured that 
"This also cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts, which is won- 
derful in council, and excellent in working" (Isaiah 28: 29). 
Therefore the Psalmist says: "Why art thou cast down, O my 
soul, and why art thou disquieted in me ? Hope thou in God : for 
I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance" (Ps. 42: 
6). Therefore suppress all thoughts as though God had visited 
you in his wrath, for whom the Lord loveth him doth he chastise. 
Let us rather say with the poet: 

'MVhat God does ever well is done! 
His will is just and holy; 
As lie directs my sands to run, 
My spirit shall keep lowly. 
He is my God; though sore the rod, 
His care doth e'er enfold me: 
Then may he guide and hold me.'' 

ni. 

Jacob mourned over the fact that his child died before he did. 
No doubt he had hoped that Joseph would be the staff of his old 
age. And now everything turned out so very differently. The 
ideal relationship between the God-fearing old man and his pious 
son was ruthlessly torn asunder. If Jacob had died, it would have 
been no more than one might expect at his age. He was old and 



92 FUNERALSEEMONS 

naturally his end was not far off. How gladly would he have lain 
down to die in the arms of Joseph. But now his favorite boy must 
die before him. Without a word of farewell, hearty and hale he 
left home and now this bloody garment is returned. Jacob never 
hoped to see his child again in this world. How lonely would his 
life be from now on. How he would miss his child! Everything 
that reminded him of his child would tear open the wound afresh, 
and especially in old age such wounds are slow to heal. 

And your hearts too bleed today over the death of your child. 
O how terrible it is that we are compelled to hasten the burial 
of our loved ones after death. In spite of all the skill of the 
embalmer we can protect their corpses but a few days from 
corruption. How soon they return to dust and ashes! Yes, **As 
for man his days are as grass: as a flower of the field so he 
flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone ; and the 
place thereof shall know it no more" (Ps. 103: 15, 16). how 
awful are all thoughts of the grave with its corruption. We lower 
the corpses of our loved ones into the grave and cover them with 
earth, in order to remove them from the eyes of all men; for 
there is nothing more terrible to the senses of man than a decom- 
posing corpse. Yes, we must part from our loved ones. Not even 
their corpses dare remain with us. 

And yet the separation of death is only temporary. It was not 
long until Jacob heard the good news: *'Thy son Joseph is yet 
alive and lord over all Egypt." And though he could scarcely 
believe the message yet the presents which Joseph sent convinced 
him that it was true. Overcome with joy he said: '*It is enough; 
Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die" 
(Gen. 45: 28). And in a short time he rested in Joseph's arms. 
Joseph fell upon his neck and wept tears of joy. This was a 
reunion such as the patriarch had never dreamed of. New life 
ran through his old heart. How his eyes sparkled with joy ! Now 
all sorrow was banished. Now his sighs and groans were changed 



SORROW OF PARENTS OVER DEATH OF A CHILD 93 

into songs of praise. The storms of trouble were over, and there 
was bright sunshine and calm. 

And, my beloved, for you there is in store even a more 
glorious reunion. Your child will meet you at the last day in its 
risen, glorified body. Or you may die before the Lord's appear- 
ance and meet your child in heaven. That will be a glorious 
reunion. You shall meet to part no more. The few years that 
you may have to spend in this vale of tears will soon be over. 
With every day you are one step nearer the end of your earthly 
pilgrimage. The New Jerusalem already looms up in the dis- 
tance. You may hope soon to be within its golden walls. Then 
you will realize the blessed fact that your loved one was not lost 
but only gone before. 

"Jerusalem! My happy home! 
My soul still pants for thee; 
Then shall my labors have an end, 
When I thy joy shall see.'' Amen. 



Part II 



INDEX— PART II 



Text 




Luke 7: 14 


Rom. 14: 


7-9 


Psalm 40: 


3 


Matt. 14: 


12 


Matt. 11: 


28 


Psalm 119 


: 9 


,Eccles. 12: 


1-! 


feev. 2: 10 





Occasion 
At the death of a college stu- 
dent who had the ministry 

in view 

At the sudden death of a young 

woman 

For a young woman who had 
musical talent and conse- 
crated it to God's service-- 

For a Christian young man 

For a pastor's young wife 

For a young man 

For a young married woman__ 

For a comparatively young 

Christian woman 



Author 



Page 



Rev.L. H. Schuh __ 3 

Rev. Prof. G. J. Zeilinger 10 



Rev. W. E. Tressel 15 

Rev. W. E. Schramm 23 

Rev. W. E. Tressel 30 

Rev. H. P. Dannecker __ 39 
R«v. J. H. Kuhlman 48 

Rev. W. E. Tressel 54 



JESUS CHRIST IS THE CONQUEROR OF DEATH 
By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

"And lie came and touched the hier; and they that "bare him stood 
still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." — Luke 7: 14. 

Occasion : At the death of a college student who had the ministry 

in view 

Members of the Faculty, Students, and Friends: 

It was at daybreak on the twenty-second of December that 

the soul of R S winged its flight from earth to 

heaven. On that day many of us were still steeped in Christmas 
joys. We had sung the praises of the Christ-child and the echo 
of the Christmas hymns had not yet died out in our hearts and 
homes. In that death chamber in Grant Hospital there was but 
one external sign of Christmas. There hung on the wall two 
holly wreaths, the gift of his classmates. These wreaths were 
to suggest to the departed the joys of the season. They may have 
done so; but possibly not, for those who watched around his 
deathbed felt that the gaze of the departed was fixed upon the 
face of the death-angel, which once having been looked upon 
engrosses the attention. The messenger of the Most High beck- 
oned. No mortal has yet refused obedience. God took our brother 
and so the festive season became infinitely greater for him than 
for us. While we sang of the heavenly choir and attempted to 
imitate their strains of ''Glory to God in the highest and peace 
upon earth, good will toward men," he went to join the angelic 
choir and to pour out his enraptured soul at the feet of the 
Christ-child. It Avas a merry, a blessed Christmas for him. 

We could not at that time hold an appropriate service and so 
we gather here tonight to discharge a debt of love. We wish to 

3 



4 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Speak of what God did for him in life and in death, to exhort you 
to imitate his virtues, to beg of you to throw the mantle of 
charity over his faults, to ask you to keep green his memory and 
to pray to God to make both his life and his death a benediction 
to our school. 

Death is always sad, but not always equally so. When an old 
man has filled up the measure of life and like ripe fruit drops to 
the earth from sheer mellowness, we say: *'It must be so." We 
wander through the orchard in the fall and we see the matured 
fruit lying on the ground. We express no surprise or sorrow. We 
know that this is after the course of nature. But to pass through 
the orchard in early summer and to see the green fruit torn per- 
force from the tree, this is a disappointment and we ask: ''Why 
is this?" 

Here was a young life cut short. It seemed to be developing 
in a normal and satisfactory manner. It gave promise of useful- 
ness. It was consecrated to God and so far as we could see was 
much needed in the Christian ministry and could it have been 
spared would have brought untold blessings to many. It was just 
passing into the greatest cycle of human life, the period of mature 
manhood. The grim reaper has cut it down. Involuntarily there 
arises the question: Why? Human reason is confounded and 
admits that it cannot give a satisfactory answer. There comes a 
quasi answer from the Word. ''My ways are not your ways." 
"What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know here- 
after." The providence of God has two sides, the dark and the 
bright side. We are wandering in the dark side now and must 
content ourselves with believing that "all things work together 
for good to them that love the Lord. ' ' He will by and by reveal 
his will to us. We must comfort ourselves in the meantime with 
the revelations given in his Word. One of them we have in this 
text. It is this : Jesus Christ is the conqueror of death. This truth 
has comforting power. Let us address ourselves to it. 



JESUS CHRIST CONQUEROR OF DEATH 5 

Jesus Christ is the Conqueror of Death 

I. He conquered Physical Death : Jesus and his disciples were 
about to enter Nain. A funeral procession was coming out. As 
death was the wages of sin, no dead could be interred within the 
city limits. At the gates of the city the Prince of Life and the 
Prince of Horrors meet. It was a pitiable case. Death loves a 
shining mark. So here — a widow was bereft of her only son, 
bowed down with grief she follows the bier and that the case was 
unusually touching is shown by the multitude that follow. 

At no place in the gospel is Jesus represented as tender- 
hearted as here. Elsewhere he was asked and even importuned 
to help, but here unasked he commands the bier to be set on the 
ground and he steps up, touches the bier and issues his divine 
command: "Young man, Arise.'* And the dead obeys. There 
dwelt in Jesus all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. His divine 
power manifested itself and so he conquered physical death. 

But this is not all. He raised the daughter of Jairus. He stood 
at the grave of Lazarus after he was dead already four days and 
was stinking and called him back to life. But the crowning 
miracle of our Lord was his own resurrection. They nailed him 
to the tree. He bowed his head and gave up the ghost. His friends 
buried him and his enemies sealed his tomb. But on the third day 
invisible hands rolled back the stone that the world might look 
in and be convinced that the grave was empty. Jesus had fulfilled 
his own promise: "I am the resurrection and the life." He raised 
himself from the dead and so he proved himself to be the con- 
queror of physical death. 

He will raise all the dead. ''The hour is coming in the which 
all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth; 
they that have done good unto the resurrection of life ; and they 
that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." 



Q FUNBBAL SERMONS 

The last enemy, which is death, shall be put under his feet. 
His work of redemption is complete; but his work of victory is 
incomplete. He will triumph over death and not until the dead 
have arisen will his victory over physical death be complete. 
Christ will raise our departed brother. That is our hope and our 
comfort. 

The world finds great difficulty here. When the body returns 
to its original elements, "How can it arise?" they say. The 
chemist may dissolve a lump of silver in an acid; but by a 
chemical process he may collect it again. Should the chemist who 
merely follows the laws of nature be wiser and mightier than 
he who made them? God, out of dust, before our very eyes, is 
every day making the bodies of men. The food which we eat 
comes from the earth and contains the substances found in the 
soil. By the process of digestion and assimilation they are con- 
verted into blood and flesh and bone. So our bodies are daily 
being constructed out of the dust. Why should that God who 
made man from the dust and who upholds him from the dust not 
be able at last to take the dust and quicken it? 

The Christian says: "I believe in the resurrection of the 
body." He knows that the victory of Christ will be complete. 
It has been prefigured by Christ's power over death in himself 
and others. The believer even now looks beyond the coffin and 
the grave to the great resurrection morning and his heart is 
comforted because Christ has triumphed over physical death. 

II. He conquered Spiritual Death: When Jesus raised the 
young man from the dead ''there came a fear on all and they 
glorified God saying, That a great prophet is risen up among 
us and. That God hath visited his people." There was a spiritual 
awakening in that throng. They believed on him and that was 
spiritual life. 

Death is always a separation. Physical death is a separation 
of soul and body. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul 



JESUS CHRIST CONQUEROR OF DEATH 7 

from God. The soul may be estranged from its Maker. The 
Scriptures teach that a man may be dead even while he lives. 
''Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ 
shall give thee life." To be ignorant of God's saving will, to be 
in rebellion against his righteous will in opposition to his holy 
will, — this is to be spiritually dead. 

From this state a man can no more save himself than he can 
raise himself up from bodily death. Help must come from with- 
out. Just as Jesus was the Helper of the dead, calling him back 
to life by his Word, so Christ through his Word enlightens the 
intellect that we see our sinful condition, and influences the will 
that it is no longer perverse. This call comes with much force in 
the Word. There, he instructs and pleads and persuades. There 
the Spirit draws, and by his power the soul is born again. When 
we know that Jesus is the Savior and trust in him for forgiveness, 
new life has come to the soul. Then Jesus has conquered spiritual 
death. 

Our departed brother led the life that is hidden in God. Amid 
much weakness he still gave evidence that Christ was his master 
and that he was trying to do his will. He did not allow his flesh 
to rule him, but tried to crucify it. In the choice of a calling he 
did not consult with flesh and blood but was willing to deny 
himself the comforts and luxuries of life to spend his strength in 
the service of the church. He was not seeking to do his own will 
but that of another. These evidences of the spiritual resurrection 
are a comfort to us today. 

Young men, his classmates and fellow-students, this occasion 
forces upon you a very solemn question: Have you passed from 
death unto life? Has the Master said unto you: ''Young man, 
Arise?" And have you heard and obeyed that voice, or are you 
still holden of death? Are you resisting the drawing of his Spirit 
and leading a life of the flesh which begins and ends in death? 
Or can you truthfully say: "I have felt the power of his Word 



g FUNERAL SERMONS 

and have the new life in my soul? I have yielded my heart to 
him." Blessed are all they who have experienced the new life. 

Come now in the prime of life and yield yourself to this 
gracious influence. Let not the call of God be heard in vain. Some 
of you are evidently halting between two opinions. The world 
and the flesh with their temptations have beset you and you are 
saying: ''Not now, not now. Some other day when I have a 
convenient season." 

Do not spend your strength in the service of the flesh, bringing 
at last only the wreckage of life to God. No! come now, with 
all the powers of your bodies and souls at their best and lay 
them down at the feet of Jesus. This life in Christ, this service 
of the Master, will afford you no heartache, no pangs of con- 
science, no regrets, no bitter taste in the mouth, no suffering from 
abused members, but rather peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. 

If the death of this young man should make you more thought- 
ful, or lead one of you into the Christian ministry, or win you 
away from the world and its service and direct your feet heaven- 
ward, then both his life and his death would have been a blessing 
to our school. May God grant it ! 

III. He has conquered Eternal Death: Death always signifies 
a separation. Physical death signifies a separation of body and 
soul. Spiritual death signifies the separation of the soul from 
God in this life. Eternal death signifies the separation of the soul 
from the beatific vision of God in the next life. 

There will be such an exclusion in the life to come. "And 
these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the right- 
eous into life eternal." The Bible knows nothing of universal 
salvation in the life to come. How could it? Can God force a 
man into heaven? Can he consistently coerce the human will? 
And if he saved men against their will could they be happy? 
There is a law of affinity. If God is not the affinity of a 
human soul, if sin is its delight and it hates holiness how could 



JESUS CHRIST CONQUEROR OF DEATH 9 

such a soul be happy amid the perfection of heaven! Judas 
''went to his place," because by the law of affinity he belonged 
there and would have been out of place elsewhere. Just as the 
magnet attracts some metals and repels others by this same law, 
so souls naturally gravitate toward heaven or hell because of 
their relation to Christ. And this state of eternal rejection the 
Bible calls ''eternal death." 

The temporal effects of sin are largely left upon us in spite 
of the redemption in Christ ; but the eternal effects are altogether 
lifted from us by his vicarious sufferings upon the cross. Jesus 
suffered the torments of hell, appeased the wrath of God, satisfied 
his justice and merited eternal life and now offers this great boon 
to all who accept it in faith. 

Life, both now and hereafter, is the supreme desire of the 
human soul. Job correctly says: "Whatsoever a man hath will 
he give for his life," because nothing on earth may be compared 
to it. How we struggle to keep it ! How we shrink from surren- 
dering it! How dreadful is the thought of annihilation! How 
pleasing the prospect of an eternal existence in a state of perfec- 
tion! We have that prospect if we are in Christ Jesus, because 
he has conquered eternal death. 

"In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are 
pleasures for evermore. " I know not where heaven is; I only 
know that it is " in thy presence. ' ' Jesus said : ' ' Today shalt thou 
be with me in paradise." What matters it if we do not know 
where heaven is ? If we can be with Jesus who is enthroned high 
above the heavens all will be well. Every longing of the human 
soul, every righteous aspiration of the human breast he will 
satisfy. And we shall live with him world without end. 

Let us bow in submission to the dispensation of God, believing 
where we cannot understand and looking forward to that time 
when we shall meet around the glory-seat of him who has con- 
quered death in all its forms. Amen ! 



JESUS IS LORD OF OUR DEAD 
By Prof. G. J. Zeilinger 

"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For 
whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto 
the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to 
this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that he might he Lord hoth 
of the dead and living. "—Rom. 14: 7-9. 

Occasion: A young woman visiting with friends in the city, found 
dead in her bed in the morning 

Mourning Friends : 

It is winter now, winter bleak and dreary, and not the season 
of harvest. But there is a reaper that pays no attention whatever 
to times or seasons. Winter and summer are all alike to him. 
He does not care for meadows of golden grain and gardens of 
beautiful, sweet-scented flowers; but men, and women, and even 
lovely children he would cut down with a merciless and unrelent- 
ing hand. And when he swings his gleaming scythe, friends, 
does not the burnished steel seem to enter our very souls, when 
we but think of it ! When he swings his scythe, they fall — not only 
**the bearded grain at a breath, but also the flowers that grow 
between": for *'all flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as 
the flower of the grass. ' ' 

And when we thus see them fall all about us, one by one, and 
twice here in our little congregation, twice within the short cycle 
of twelve months, without warning, life extinguished like a 
candle by a sudden gust of wind, — who would be so hardened 
as not to be touched to the quick ? Who that is a Christian would 
not lift his face, and if it be a tear-stained one, to the mountains 
from whence cometh help, and pray: **Lord, so teach us to num- 
ber our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom!" 

10 



M 



JESUS IS LORD OF OUR DEAD H 

This true wisdom God would teach us, oh, we all know where, 
namely, not in woods or fields, not in the pursuit of our own 
desires, not where the lord of this world holds sway, but (and 
there is only one place where God teaches wisdom) in his Holy 
Word! There also you sorrowing ones will find light and an 
answer to the question which doubtless weighs heavy upon your 
hearts and minds, the question: Does God's Word say anything 
about such a death as our dear departed one suffered ? Clear and 
firm, like the tone of a full-tongued bell in perfect tune, the 
answer peals forth from our text: "Whether we live or die, we 
are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died and rose, and 
revived that he might be Lord both of the dead and living ! ' ' 

Therefore, as Jesus is the Lord of our departed sister, 

1) We need not sorrow over her end, as though she had been 
left alone in the hour of death ; 

2) We ought to be comforted in view of her present state. 
"Wliat makes death, in whatever form it may appear, so awful 

that a good many people would rather not hear the w^ord men- 
tioned at all, is the incontrovertible fact, that the road leading 
through the dark valley of shadows must be traveled by each 
dying person all by himself alone. There may be friends, and 
those who are near and dear to us, by our bedside when we pass 
away; but not even a mother can go with her child, — every soul 
passes out of this world by itself and alone. 

Yet we, that are left behind, feel more comforted, if we can be 
with those we love, when they breathe their last. We do every- 
thing we can possibly think of to brighten their last moments 
and to smooth the way they must go. We pray for them and 
with them: we comfort them with the rod and the staff of our 
Good Shepherd, Jesus, i. e., with his holy, precious Word, and, 
if at all possible, with the blessed sacrament of his holy Body 
and Blood. When then those we love depart in the silence of 
night, while no eye watches over them, and no one hears their last 



12 FUNERAL SERMONS 

faint whisper, we feel as though there is nothing sadder on earth ; 
and when we must add to this the thought that, perhaps, our 
departed ones passed away so suddenly that they themselves 
never realized the event, and, therefore, every opportunity of 
preparing for the moment of departure was cut off, — we feel as 
though there is no comfort for us. 

And 3^et, my friends, he that said to Israel: ''As one whom 
his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you," has already pre- 
pared true, perfect, abundant, and more than abundant consola- 
tion for us, even before we were in need of it. If we turn to this 
word of God, our text, it seems as though God himself were 
saying to us: you foolish children, what are you troubling 
your hearts for? Just as though anyone of my own could ever 
be left alone ! Just as little as any child of mine, i. e., any true 
Christian, lives to himself (and no Christian lives to himself; all 
Christians live to Christ. Paul says, "For me to live is Christ," 
and again, "Now live not I, but Christ liveth in me"), yes, just 
as no Christian lives to himself, so, of course, none dies to himself, 
for, "whether they live," our text says, "they live unto the 
Lord, and whether they die, they die unto the Lord." In other 
words, as the Christian's life is devoted to God in Christ, so also 
his death is devoted to Christ. And why? Because Christ is the 
Christian's Lord, his Lord, not only in life, but also in death. 
Christ is always his Lord! 

If, however, we are always his, what difference can it make, 
whether we are sleeping or waking, living or dying? We are 
always his, and he is always ours. Having become your father's 
child, unless you voluntarily renounce him, do you ever cease 
being his child? Can you ever cease being your Heavenly Father's 
child, if you do not run away from him, nor despise his fatherly 
love and your Savior's grace? No, and therefore as a father will 
take care of his child, so our dear Father in heaven will never 
leave nor forsake his own. "Lo, I am with you alway," Jesus 



JESUS IS LORD OF OUR DEAD 13 

says, "even unto the end of the world." ''My sheep hear my 
voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them 
eternal life, and no man shall pluck them out of my hands." 
That is what he said who is the Truth and who never told a 
falsehood, and therefore the soul of his faithful child replies with 
David: ''Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy 
staff they comfort me!" . . . Therefore, if Jesus was her 
Lord, she, over whom you are sorrowing today, was not alone, 
when she seemed to be forsaken by all ; and though no soul watched 
the departure of her soul, he, to whom she had lived and to whom 
she died, was with her and did for her what neither friend, nor 
brother, neither father nor mother, nor even her only sister could 
have done for her, — Jesus took her home ! 

2. And, therefore, my friends, you should be comforted also in 
view of her present state. 

For, if Jesus took her home, he did not leave her again, but he 
is with her and she is with him even now. But is this true ? Does 
Jesus actually take care of his own in the, other world, and are 
they really with him even after death? Does his interest in them 
not cease when he has brought them safely to the other shore? 
friends, what does God's Word of our text say? "For to this 
end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord 
of the dead and living ! ' ' 

Does it not seem strange that the dead are mentioned first, 
even before the living? To be Lord of both, the dead and the 
living, he "died, rose, and revived." Yes, that is why he re- 
deemed us poor, sinful and condemned creatures, that is why he 
purchased and won us from all our sins, from death and the 
power of the devil, — (not with gold or silver, but with his holy, 
precious blood and with his innocent sufferings and death), in 
order that we might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, 
and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessed- 



14 



PUNERAL SERMONS 



ness, even as he is risen from the dead, liveth and reigneth to all 
eternity. This is most certainly true 

And that is precisely what our blessed dead are doing now; 
they are not only resting from their labors in the beautiful home 
beyond, they are not only enjoying the happiness and beauty of 
Jerusalem, their happy home, Jerusalem, the golden, with milk 
and honey blest, — but they are serving their Lord, as they served 
him on earth, only with this difference, that now there is no sin to 
mar their service, no sin to spoil their best words and deeds. 

And they are serving in the company of all the angels and 
saints in heaven, and in the company of all our blessed dead that 
have gone before, singing praises, and offering glory, honor, and 
thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to whom be 
glory and honor, world without end. And this is most certainly 
true. Amen! 



JEHOVAH HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH 
By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

''And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our 
God . . ."—Psalm 40: 3. 

Occasion: For a young woman, of no little musical talent and 

culture, who delighted in opportunities to use her voice 

in God's service 

Music is one of the greatest and most beautiful gifts of God 
to man. In the highest sense music is one of the fine arts. "What 
a revelation here of God's power and wisdom, what a reflection 
of the beauty and nobility of the divine nature! Man's deepest 
being is moved by sweet concord of sounds. There issues, from 
instrument or voice, a refining influence. Brutish and savage 
indeed must be the soul which remains unresponsive to music's 
tender call. 

From earliest times the world has echoed the strains and 
harmonies of uplifting music. Jubal is known as the father of 
those that handle the harp and the pipe (Gen. 4: 21). ''Moses 
and the children of Israel sang unto Jehovah" a song of victory 
(Exodus 15: 1). Miriam, the prophetess, sister of Moses and 
Aaron, led the women in a chant of victory : 

"Sing ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously; 
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.'' 

(Exodus 15: 21.) 

The Bible makes mention repeatedly of music and song in the 
service of the Lord God. Witness the Levitical chorus and orches- 
tra (I Chron. 15: 16-24) and the impressive ceremonies connected 

15 



16 



rUNERAL SERMONS 



with the dedication of Solomon's temple (II Chron. 5: 12). Never 
does music, or any other art, attain to loftier heights than when 
employed in the cause of religion. The noblest music in the world 
today is that called forth by religious emotion. 

It is altogether fitting that we should speak, in this home 
whose walls have so often echoed to the sacred songs which poured 
from our sister's lips — lips now silenced by death — of the happy 
experience of the psalmist so exultantly expressed in our text : 

Jehovah Hath Put a New Song in My Mouth 

The psalmist sings the new song in The Church on Earth— The 
Kingdom of Grace. A great deliverance is celebrated in this 
psalm. What the exact nature of that deliverance was, we are 
unable to say. It has been suggested that the nation — Israel — is 
thought of as the beneficiary. Another school of interpreters take 
the psalm as a record of the personal experiences of the author. I 
believe, with the latter, that the writer had personally experi- 
enced a great blessing and in this psalm gratefully and exultantly 
proclaims the divine power and goodness which intervened in his 
behalf. 

The author intimates, in the first verse of the psalm, that he 
has been in a hard situation, and tells of his patient waiting. 

''I waited patiently for the Lord.'' 

This patience in waiting was rewarded: 

"And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.'' 

The seriousness of the situation is more specifically referred 
to in the next verse — ''a horrible pit," a pit of destruction or of 
desolation; 'Hhe miry clay," where the foot slips and slides. The 
exact historical background of this thrilling experience is un- 
known to us. But we have here a vivid description of danger and 
difficulty. And out of this pit and from this miry clay Jehovah, 



JEHOVAH HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH 17 

the God of covenant and mercy, delivered his servant. *'He 
brought me up," is the grateful record. ''And set my feet upon 
a rock, and established my goings." Then was the psalmist glad 
and sang for joy. ''The psalmist did not need to be bidden to 
praise ; a new song welled from his lips as by inspiration. Silence 
was more impossible to his glad heart than even to his sorrow. To 
shriek for help from the bottom of the pit and to be dumb when 
lifted to the surface is a child's part." 

Hard and gloomy is the life of the man who lives after the 
flesh. He is down in a pit of horror, his feet are fast in miry clay. 
There may be periods of seeming joy — but joy only after the 
flesh. There may be times of singing — but the songs will be 
worldly. Oftener, at least for the soul striving upward, there will 
rise shrieks of pain and cries for help from the pit of sin. "Have 
mercy upon me, God," will be the prayer of a heart truly realiz- 
ing its sad plight. 

God does, in mercy, hear the repenting sinner's cry for help. 
He delivers the soul of the lost. He reaches forth. He takes hold 
of the prisoner in the pit. He brings him out, and sets his feet in 
a rock and establishes his goings. It is the Lord on whom we are 
patiently to wait : it is he who will incline unto us and hear our 
cry. And when the plea for mercy has been answered, the new 
song wells from the lips of the saved. 

This is the song men sing in the Church, in the kingdom of 
Grace. It is a song of praise unto our God. It is not a song in 
praise of human merit and achievement. It is not an epic begin- 
ning with words like these: "Arms and a hero I sing." The new 
song magnifies the Lord, Jehovah, and his gracious power. "He 
hath redeemed my soul" is the burden of the song. And when a 
man has experienced the redeeming power, how can he keep still? 
His soul overflows with joy and praise. "Bless the Lord, my 
soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name." 



13 PXJNERAL SERMONS 

Endowed by nature with a splendid voice, spending time and 
money on the culture of her voice, your sister had advanced far in 
the heavenly art of song. She not only enjoyed natural advan- 
tages, but made use of these, and was ambitious to rise. You 
encouraged her in this laudable ambition. You did all in your 
power to make possible the realization of her dreams. At last the 
time came when she was privileged to give pleasure, with the 
voice of song and praise, to hundreds. Not only did she sing the 
songs which are considered classic by the world, but she took 
delight in the songs of Zion. Never was she happier than when 
she had opportunity to help swell the song of praise and thanks- 
giving in the sanctuary. And never, I am certain, were you 
happier than w^hen you heard her in the choir loft, rejoiced with 
her in the congregational singing. Even here the song would be 
spoiled unless sung in the spirit of the psalmist. But we believe 
that your sister really felt the joy of the redeemed, and caught 
something of the inspiration that comes from the Spirit of God. 
Sincerely could she pray and sing : 

'*0 may Thy love inspire my tongue; 

Salvation shall be all my song, , 

And all my power shall join to bless 

The Lord, my Strength and Eighteousness. '' 

The sweetest songs this world knows are those sung in praise 
of the Name that is above every name — the name of Jesus, our 
Savior. 

I cannot refrain from mentioning one incident which always 
gave your sister and yourselves so much satisfaction. She never 
forgot the day of the present pastor's induction into his office 
here. She sang a solo at that service. How heartily and gladly 
she sang ! She counted it a happy privilege to have a part in that 
solemn service. Up to her dying day she remembered it. May God 
graciously have rewarded her for her service in Jesus' name. 



JEHOVAH HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH 19 

And now, shall we not join with her to ''bless the Lord, our 
Strength and Righteousness ' ' ? You do not understand why your 
heavenly Father has permitted this sorrow to come unto your 
home? You cannot see why he should remove one so young and 
talented? why the voice of this daughter of music should be 
silenced? why all the song and gladness should have gone out of 
your home? Oh, remember the days of pleasure you have had; be 
assured of your sister's presence in ''the choir invisible"; take 
upon your own lips the new song, the song of the redeemed. Sing 
that song where she sang it — in the home and in the courts of 
God's house. The echoes of the voice that is no more you will 
seem, sometimes to hear ; the silent instrument will call up tender 
memories ; and you will be heartsick because of all this. Turn the 
more earnestly to him who inspires us with songs of praise. The 
deeper note has come into your life. That is music too. Perhaps, 
as the days pass, you will find that God can use you, in the service 
of his church, in service to your fellow-men, all the better because 
of the sorrow^ that has come into your lives. You are still in the 
Church on Earth — the Kingdom of Grace. 

''Praise thou the Lord, who thy life has so visibly guided. 
Streams of free grace, in his Son, for thy sin hath provided; 
Plain to thy view, 
God, the Almighty and true, 
Ne'er from his child is divided.'' 

Does the new song of praise unto our God end at death? It 
would be more than a pity, it would be a real tragedy, if that 
were true. There are those who try to satisfy their minds by say- 
ing that the beautiful art of music is age-long, practically eternal, 
in duration — that it will be transmitted from generation to gen- 
eration ; but the singer will not live on — his lips will be silenced 
forever. Such claims cannot satisfy the longings of our souls. We 
believe that the new song will be sung in the Church in Heaven — 



20 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



the Kingdom of Glory; and it will be sung by those who sang it 
here and died with the song on their lips. 

In Revelation 14: 3 we read: ''And they sung as it were a new 
song before the throne.'^ In the chapter following, verse three, 
we read: ''And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, 
and the song of the Lamb, saying. Great and marvelous are thy 
works. Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou 
King of saints." As glory to God was sung centuries ago in the 
heavenly heights, so it has always been since angels struck their 
harps and lifted their voices in praise to God. And so it will 
always be. Only, the angelic choir will be augmented, and is 
continually being augmented, by the saints who have passed or 
are passing from grace to glory. They that have gotten the victory 
over the beast (Rev. 15: 2) will celebrate their triumph when they 
have crossed the sea and have entered the land of promise. 

What will be the character of the song in glory? It will still 
be a song of praise unto our God. There will be remembrances of 
the mercies experienced while the pilgrim was on the way. The 
tongue of the redeemed will never tire of telling the story of 
grace. God's way of saving men — a God-man, our Saviour; put 
under the law ; suffering the penalties of the law ; raised up from 
the dead by the glory of the Father; believed on in the world; 
received up into glory — this old, but precious, story will not have 
lost its charm. "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God 
over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15: 10). That joy will not 
grow less with the advent into glory of the redeemed sinner. The 
song of praise will be the greater for the presence of the great 
choir of the saved. 

The new song in glory will commemorate the last great strug- 
gle and the believer's triumph in that event. The terrors of death 
are enough to make the strongest tremble. Satan's attacks will 
keep on to the very end. The song of the sirens luring men to 
destruction will be heard until death intervenes. But then, what 



JEHOVAH HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH 21 

an outburst of triumphant song : ' ' So when this corruptible shall 
have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on im- 
mortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 
*' Death is swallowed up in victory. death, where is thy sting? 
grave, where is thy victory? . . . But thanks be to God, 
which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I 
Cor. 15: 54, 55, 57). When we, through Christ and with Christ, 
have ''overcome the sharpness of death," when we shall be num- 
bered with the saints ''in glory everlasting," we shall join in the 
"Te Deum Laudamus" — "We praise thee, oh God; we acknowl- 
edge thee to be the Lord." 

The new song in heaven will be employed in praising and 
worshiping God in his ever new revelations of himself — his love, 
his majesty, his power. "We worship thy name, ever, world with- 
out end." As God's mercies in this vale of tears are every morn- 
ing new, so on the mountain heights of glory will every hour, 
every moment, disclose to us some new wonder from among his 
infinite perfections. The "Holy, Holy, Holy," of the seraphim 
will sound forth in heavenly places. Endless alleluias will ring 
down the corridors of the skies. What a prospect! "Eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of 
man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" 
(I Cor. 2:9). 

Sister, thou art today in heaven, singing with the choirs of 
angels. Ah, that we were with thee! "In psalms and hymns and 
spiritual songs" didst thou in earth sing with grace in thy heart 
to the Lord. Now thou hast joined "the choir invisible," and 
with cherubim and seraphim continually dost cry before the 
throne: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and 
earth are full of the majesty of thy Glory." We strain our ears 
to hear "voices from heaven, intoned with mighty joy, and at- 
tuned to golden harps," engaged in a new song "fit to be sung 
before the throne and all the celestial company." 



22 FtTNERAL SERMONS 

Saints on earth, sing on! Sing the new song — the song of 
Jesus, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. 
Above the fears and the doubts, above the tumults and the striv- 
ings of this wicked world, let your song of praise unto your God 
ring out. If, sometimes, the tears come into your eyes while you 
sing, this will only mean that greater tenderness and sweetness 
will come into your voices, and you will sing, as never before, the 
song of ''love divine all love excelling." 

"Awake, my soul, in joyful lays, 

And sing thy great Redeemer's praise; 
He justly claims a song from me, 
His loving-kindness, O how free! 
He saw me ruined in the fall, 
Yet loved me notwithstanding all; 
He saved me from my lost estate, 
His loving-kindness, O how great! 

"Soon shall I pass the gloomy vale, 
Soon all my mortal powers must fail; 
O may my last expiring breath 
His loving-kindness sing in death! 
Then let me mount and soar away 
To the bright world of endless day, 
And sing with rapture and surprise. 
His loving-kindness in the skies.'' 

Amen. 



A GROUP OP GODLY MEN AS MOURNERS 
By Rev. W. E. Schramm 

**And his disciples came and took up the hody and huried it, and went 
and told Jesus. "—Matt. 14: 12. 

Occasion: For a Christian Young Man 

It is a sad dispensation, my dear brethren, which has brought 
us together today. We are called upon to weep with those who 
weep. As we contemplate the loss which these, our friends, have 
sustained, we feel the sting of sympathetic tears in our own eyes. 
As we consider this great sorrow which has come into their lives, 
we experience a sympathetic ache in our own heart. 

It is, therefore, not a morbid curiosity which has drawn us 
hither in this hour. If we had come with a curious desire to see 
and hear, it were better had we left our friends alone in their 
grief. No, our eager desire is to serve. Our ardent wish is to be 
helpful. To this end we tender our sincere sympathy. To this end 
we offer our earnest prayers. But, dear sorrowing brethren, far 
more important than our human sympathy is the heavenly coun- 
sel and consolation which we would bear to you today. We would 
bring you a soothing, healing draught from that fountain of 
comfort which our loving Lord has given us in his Word. 

You will notice that the text I have chosen is a very brief 
account of a funeral which was held many centuries ago. John 
the Baptist had died a violent death, and when the news of this 
outrage reached the ears of the men who had been John's disci- 
ples, they came and rendered the last honors to the body of their 
revered master. 

23 



24 FUNERAL SERMONS 

The details of John's funeral are not given us in this record. 
Nothing is said of the burial customs which obtained in those 
days. No mention is made of any ceremony of any character. Of 
the hour and place of burial, no hint is given. All that is said 
touching this funeral of long ago is expressed in two very concise 
statements. But these two statements I regard as being in a high 
degree profitable for our meditation. Let us study this funeral. 
Let us scrutinize the mourners. Let us carefully observe their 
conduct in their day of mourning, not, of course, from any idle 
curiosity, but with a desire for helpful instruction. 

These mourners were godly men. No other class of men would 
have been attracted to such a leader as the Baptist was. Addi- 
tional evidence of their godliness is given us in the fact that 
some of these same men became the chosen apostles of the Lord 
Jesus. The example of such men is always worthy of study and it 
is usually worthy of imitation. Even as mourners these men are 
teachers. I am directing your attention to this incident, at this 
time, because I desire you to study 

A Group of Godly Men as Mourners 

I. It is evident from this incident, and multitudes of others 
bear similar testimony, that godly souls are not exempt from 
bitter grief. If any man believes, like the friends who sought to 
comfort Job, that only the wicked have real sorrows in this life, 
such a one shows that he has comprehended neither the declara- 
tions of the divine Word nor the lessons of divine providence. We 
dwell in a world of sin, and no degree of piety will shield us from 
those tribulations and sorrows which must abound where sin 
reigns, 

John the Baptist was a man of heroic type. He was one of 
God's true noblemen. Jesus the Lord bears him the testimony that 
** Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a 



A GROUP OF GODLY MEN AS MOURNERS 25 

greater than John the Baptist." If faithfulness to God were a 
guaranty of a life free from suffering and sorrow, then certainly 
the life of John the Baptist should have been a bright and happy 
one. And yet, as a matter of fact, this faithful soul encountered 
a goodly amount of tribulation. He had hardships to face, he ex- 
perienced all the discomforts of poverty, and finally he had 
persecution of a most cruel character with which to contend. 
Sorrow and suffering were his lot especially in the closing scenes 
of his life. It is a pitiful story. It moves us to sadness every time 
we read it. Because his faithfulness had offended a weak and 
vicious king, John was cast into a vile dungeon. To gratify the 
hatred of a fiendish woman, this great and good man was cruelly 
murdered. 

We can imagine, at least to some extent, what must have been 
the grief of John's disciples when they came and bore the muti- 
lated body of their dear friend away for burial. Intense grief 
mingled with deep perplexity must have filled their hearts. To 
have their beloved teacher taken from them was sufficient to 
make mourners of them, but the manner in which death had 
come to him must have added greatly to their sorrow. To know 
that John had been dealt with as though he were a vile felon 
when he was in truth a pious, faithful servant of God, that must 
have made deep and heavy the gloom which oppressed them. 

So then we have here an example of a noble. God-fearing 
m-an, who during his earthly life drank repeatedly from the 
bitter cup of suffering. And at his funeral we behold a group of 
devout souls. True-hearted followers of God they doubtless were, 
and yet they were mourners. Nor are these exceptional cases. 
On the other hand they are very common. Satan may come to us 
in the hour of sorrow and hold up our suffering to us as an 
argument that we are not in truth the children of God, or that 
God does not love us, but every such insinuation emanates from 
the father of lies. Holy Scripture assures us that whom the Lord 



26 FUNERALSERMONS 

loveth he chasteneth, and this assurance is daily confirmed in the 
experience of men and women of whom we know that the Lord 
is their God. It is vain to expect that our life shall be immune 
from sorrow in a world of sin. We must through much tribula- 
tion enter into the kingdom of God. We, that is, we Christians, 
even the most godly among us, must enter into the kingdom of 
God through much tribulation. None is exempt from sorrow and 
grief. 

II. But, my dear brethren, my chief desire on this occasion is 
not merely to impress upon your minds the universality of sorrow. 
I desire especially to hold up for your imitation the conduct of 
these devout mourners to whom allusion is made in this text. 
These mourners went and told Jesus. And this suggests the sec- 
and chief thought of my message to you today: Godly souls, in 
the day of their sorrow, will go with their burden of grief to 
Jesus. And his disciples came and took up the body and buried 
it, and went and told Jesus. 

Just how Jesus dealt with these mourners when they came to 
him is not revealed to us. Yet we can conjecture with a fair 
degree of accuracy the consoling truth which he would impart to 
them. We know the counsel which divine wisdom dictated on 
other occasions. We know the comfort which divine love offered 
to other mourners. We know the peace which divine grace im- 
parted to other souls in the time of their affliction. We know, too, 
that divine truth and divine attributes are unchanging. Jesus 
Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Accordingly it 
is perfectly safe to assume that the Savior applied to these mourn- 
ers the same soothing balm which he used for the healing of 
other anguished hearts. 

I am confident that he spoke to them of the significance of a 
believer's death. John was a child of God, steadfast and loyal. 
John had exhorted other men to behold in Jesus the Lamb of 
God, which takfeth away the sin of the world. He himself had 



A GROUP OF GODLY MEN AS MOURNERS 27 

embraced the world's Sin-Bearer as his personal Savior. Of such 
it is written : He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet 
shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall 
never die. Herod's soldiers had slain the body of John, but his 
spirit was with the Lord; alive forever more. The executioner's 
sword, ghastly though it seemed, had in reality severed the lock 
from a prison house, and opened the way for John's captive 
spirit to go home to God. The Baptist's body had suffered vio- 
lence, but it was well with his soul. He that believeth on the Son 
hath everlasting life. 

Perhaps Jesus told these men how blessed are the dead which 
die in the Lord. It would be a source of sweet comfort to these 
mourners to be assured that this dispensation, which meant bitter 
sorrow to them, meant liberty and rest and perfect peace to their 
beloved friend. It would remove the sting from their grief to 
know that while they had lost a friend, heaven had gained a 
saint, and John had gained a fadeless crown. To hear the Master 
speak of the Father's house of many mansions where the saints 
mingle with the angels of God around the throne of glory, and to 
know that their friend had entered this state of bliss and into 
this goodly fellowship, surely that would be a soothing lotion to 
the aching hearts of these mourners. 

Whatever may have been the exact words which the Savior 
spoke to these men, you may be sure that he gave them a message 
of true comfort and of real strength. After they had poured their 
tale of grief into his sympathetic ear, and after they had listened 
to the words of compassion and consolation which he imparted 
to them, you may be certain that they left his presence with 
lightened hearts and with brightened hopes. He spoke a ''Peace, 
be still," to the tumult in their souls. 

My dear brethren, I commend these disciples of John for 
going with their burden of grief to the Lord. I cannot conceive 
of any better thing they could have done, in their day of sorrow, 



28 FUNERAL SERMONS 

than to go and tell Jesus. Therefore I commend the example of 
these men to you for your imitation today. Let these godly 
mourners be your teachers. Go with your burden of sorrow, as 
they went, and tell Jesus. 

You may have earthly friends who will not seek your society 
to any extent while you are mourners. Either because they have 
a horror of trouble or because they feel their helplessness in the 
presence of sorrow, some of your earthly friends may actually 
avoid you in the day of adversity. But it is not thus with your 
Heavenly Friend. He invites us to come to him at all times and 
he is particularly careful to assure us that his invitation holds 
good in a time of adversity. Yes, it sometimes appears from his 
words as though he welcomes with special tenderness the soul 
that comes to him with a burden. Call upon me, he says, in the 
day of trouble : I will deliver thee. Come unto me all ye that 
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Cast thy 
burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee. With such 
commands and such promises to encourage us, we can go into 
his presence with any sorrow, it matters not how great it may be, 
we can go, confident that we shall find relief there. Dear brethren, 
I counsel you today, and whenever the remembrance of your 
sorrow becomes oppressive to you. Go, and tell Jesus. 

But it is needful also that we tarry in the Savior's presence 
sufficiently long to hear and ponder the gracious words of 
comfort which he would address to us. The divine Word is the 
channel through which the peace and consolation of Jesus are 
conveyed to us. T am always grateful when, on a funeral occa- 
sion, I can quote the splendid promises of God without reserve. 
That is, I am thankful when I can use those blessed promises 
which apply to the Christian dead, feeling reasonably sure that 
the deceased actually died in the Lord. I rejoice today that for 
your consolation I can draw on all the comfort which the Gospel 
of grace has to offer. Your loved one died in the Lord. He gave 



A GROUP OF aODLY MEN AS MOURNERS 29 

US every evidence that he lived in the faith of Jesus, and there is 
every reason to believe that he died in that faith. I confidently 
believe that when he closed his eyes here below, he opened them 
with Jesus in Paradise. Is it not written: Blessed are the dead 
which die in the Lord? On the strength of this divine guaranty 
we shall lay his body in the grave, in the sure and certain hope 
of a blessed resurrection to eternal life. Such is the comfort 
which the words of Jesus impart to us. 

Therefore I entreat you, my dear brethren. Go and tell Jesus. 
Pour out your sorrow in prayer to him and he will grant you 
sweet relief through his Word. Tarry in his presence till he 
speaks to you as he once spoke, in the days of his flesh, to his 
sorrowing apostles: ''But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, 
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all 
things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I 
have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto 
you : not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart 
be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 

What a friend we have in Jesus, 

All our sins and griefs to bear. 
What a privilege to carry 

Everything to God in prayer. 
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, 

Oh, what needless pain we bear — 
All because we do not carry 

Everything to God in prayer. 

Have we trials and temptations? 

Is there trouble anywhere? 
We should never be discouraged; 

Take it to the Lord in prayer. 
Can we find a Friend so faithful, 

Who will all our sorrows share? 
Jesus knows our every weakness. 

Take it to the Lord in prayer. Amen. 



COME UNTO ME 
By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give 
you rest."— Matt. 11: 28. 

Occasion ; Used at the funeral of a pastor 's wife, who had suffered 
long and patiently. Text selected by her 

The beauty of this invitation has compelled the admiration 
of the world: its tenderness has touched the world's heart. These 
words have made special appeal to those bowed down with care 
and grief. Like thirsty pilgrims gathered about a fountain of 
refreshing water, the heart-broken sons and daughters of men 
have come to this word of Jesus that they might be refreshed. 
Who of us has not in some more than usually earnest, responsible, 
burdensome moment of life, turned to this priceless promise for 
encouragement? Who of us has not sought to help some sorrow- 
ing friend by calling to his remembrance these sacred words? 

To appreciate fully the wonderful person of our Savior as 
revealed in the text, and to get the full significance of the words 
themselves, some account must be taken of the various incidents 
related in this chapter. The first thing to be noted is John the 
Baptist's anxious question: "Art thou he that should come, or 
do we look for another?" John the Baptist in doubt! Things 
don't seem to be turning out auspiciously for Christ's program. 
John himself is in prison. He, the forerunner, who was sent to 
prepare Messiah's way, has suffered persecution. Surely, the 
prospects for the coming of the kingdom are not bright. John's 
fears and doubts were only temporary. But they were real while 
they lasted. In sending to Christ, he made inquiry of the right 



COMEUNTOME 31 

one. But what a discouragement to the cause when one of its 
leaders comes, if only for a short while, under the cloud of doubt. 

A second thing is the fickleness and the unreasonableness of 
the people. Christ likens the contemporaneous generation to 
children sitting in the markets. They want first one thing, then 
another. When their first demands are met, they show their 
displeasure, and immediately make new demands. Of John they 
say, "He hath a devil." Concerning the Son of man they say, 
"Behold a man gluttonous and a wine-bibber, a friend of publi- 
cans and sinners." How discouraging to be subjected to the 
shallow and merciless criticisms of the fickle crowd ! 

The third thing of note is the unbelief of the cities. Though 
witnesses of most of his mighty works, they repented not. Christ 
pronounces a woe upon Chorazin and Bethsaida and adds: "If 
the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre 
and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and 
ashes." When one puts forth his utmost endeavor to help men, 
with what base ingratitude one is often repaid! 

And how does Jesus meet this unhappy, disheartening situa- 
tion? He does not lose faith in himself or in his mission. He 
sends an illuminating and encouraging answer to John ; he meets 
with decision the superficial criticism of the vacillating; he re- 
bukes the unbelieving. 

Maintaining a heavenly calm and composure, conducting him- 
self with a dignity which exhibits rare self-control and unfalter- 
ing confidence, Jesus thanks his Father, because these things have 
been hid "from the wise and prudent" and have been revealed 
unto babes. The proud, self-righteous and self-sufficient have 
utterly failed to appreciate the blessings offered them : the simple- 
hearted, the lowly, the over-burdened have been waiting for just 
this hour of privilege. They shall not be denied, even though 
powerful influences have worked against them and have oppressed 
them. A friend and champion appears, whose voice, so severe in 



32 FUNERALSEEMONS 

denunciation of selfishness and Pharisaism, grows more tender 
than a mother's in the utterance of the unforgettable words, 

Come Unto Me 

Jesus gives the invitation : And who is Jesus ? One who utters 
the most tender of invitations; who speaks as never man spake; 
who makes the most astounding claim, ''I (emphatic) will give 
you rest"; who issues the most remarkable invitation, ''Come 
unto me." Can he be a mere man? 

Jesus invites. And he has just spoken to one he calls Father, 
has spoken in terms the most intimate. And he makes the claim 
that the Father has delivered to him all things, and that "no man 
knoweth the Son, but the Father ; and he to whomsoever the Son 
will reveal him." He who speaks is he concerning whom the 
Evangelist John testifies (1: 14) : "And the Word became flesh, 
and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the 
only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." "In 
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and 
the Word was God." God, who appeared in human flesh, gives 
the invitation. 

Jesus invites. He is the Son of man. He himself assumes and 
uses that title. Though innocent of all sin — "which of you con- 
victed me of sin?" is his bold challenge — yet is he touched by 
our infirmities, and is sympathetic in a sense which must appeal 
to everyone, for he has lived in poverty, has suffered the trials, 
has borne the burdens of life, has endured temptation and perse- 
cution, and has tasted of death and its pains for every man. A 
man of wide and deep experience, of genuine compassion, speaks 
the word of invitation. Yea, it is the God-man who invites. 

This God-man is our Savior. He came to seek and to save that 
which was lost. He gave his life a ransom for many. This is he 
whom the Father delivered up, that "whosoever believeth in him 



COME UNTO ME 33 

should not perish, but have everlasting life." Wonderful Person! 
"Wonderful Savior! Wonderful invitation! 

The invitation has its quality, its meaning, its power, from the 
person who extends it. From some lips an invitation of any sort 
w^ould have no meaning at all. It would be presumption, it would 
be an insult. Not so in the present instance. When Jesus speaks, 
we grow intent to hear what he has to say. When Jesus invites, 
it behooves us to accept the invitation when Jesus seeks to 
comfort and to help, we know that we may draw near in the full 
assurance of faith. O sweet comfort in this hour of grief: Jesus 
says, ''Come unto me." 

The Weary and the Heavy-Laden are Invited: Not for oppres- 
sor and dictator, not for tyrant and slave-driver, not for rich and 
prosperous as such, not for strong-minded, self-assertive, self- 
confident, is this invitation. Folks are invited — plain, toiling, 
tired, hungry, down-trodden, over-burdened folks. God wants 
the others too. All souls are precious in his sight. But the 
domineering Pharisee needs warning and rebuke more than com- 
fort, until he comes to see himself as God sees him and cries out 
for mercy. 

The weary and heavy-laden are invited. Here are seekers 
after the truth — surely they will find. Here are men knocking 
at the gate of life — no doubt but that the gate will be opened. 
Here are folks asking, "What must I do to be saved?" and the 
answer will be given then. What striving to do the right thing! 
What efforts to appease God! What have learned rabbis advised? 
What have exacting, unfeeling Pharisees imposed? Anxious souls 
are inquiring as to how peace with God can be obtained, and the 
law, in all its vigor and fearfulness, has been read to them. And 
still there is no peace. Then traditions of the elders are un- 
earthed, and commandments of men are taught as if they were 
doctrines from heaven. Do these things and ye shall live. Martin 



34 FUNERALSERMONS 

Luther was, for a time, in a plight similar to that just described. 
It is said of him: "He observed the minutest details of discipline. 
No one surpassed him in prayer, fasting, night watches, self- 
mortification . . . But he was sadly disappointed in his hope 
to escape sin and temptation behind the walls of the cloister. He 
found no peace in all his pious exercises." In a letter to one of 
his friends, Luther writes: "Now I would like to know whether 
your soul, tired of her own righteousness, would learn to breathe 
and confide in the righteousness of Christ. Many seek to do 
rightly themselves, that they may have courage to stand before 
God as though fortified with their own virtues and merits, which 
is impossible." 

The weary and the heavy-laden are invited to come unto Jesus. 
Physical approach is not meant. To see Jesus in the flesh would 
be counted a great privilege. To know and to appreciate his 
person and work must be regarded as of infinitely greater im- 
portance. "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have 
believed" (John 20: 29). Coming to Jesus means to draw nigh 
spiritually, to approach the Savior in repentance and faith. The 
weary and heavy-laden are exhorted to use profitably the occa- 
sion and the opportunity created by their deep sense of forlorn- 
ness and helplessness. Their cry and confession must be: "God, 
be thou merciful to me a sinner." Their plea must be: "Jesus' 
blood, and righteousness." For there "is none other name under 
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" except the 
name Jesus. "God so loved the world that he gave his only- 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish 
but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). "Come unto me," says 
Jesus. To him as Savior, to him — for he has kept in man's stead 
the law which man has broken; to him — for he has paid the' 
penalty of man's transgressions; to him — for he who was deliv- 
ered up for our trespasses was raised for our justification. Jesus 
is the heart of the Gospel, Jesus is the Gospel. 



COME UNTO ME 35 

Not only of infinite tenderness, but also of priceless value to 
us poor, burdened sinners, is this Gospel call, ''Come unto me." 

Rest is promised to all who come to Jesus. Not immediate 
immunity from persecution; not instant physical relief from ill- 
ness ; not, forthwith, abundance of money and substance. Rest is 
promised — not physical rest; not surcease from labor and toil; 
not exemption from large duties and grave responsibilities. Rest 
is promised: rest for a harassed conscience; rest for the mind 
once perplexed and ill at ease; rest for the worried heart. Rest 
is promised: the rest of those who are in Christ — the rest of 
faith, the rest of those who abide in Christ, the rest of happy and 
contented fellowship; and the rest of the new life, not fully 
developed, and Oh! so sadly imperfect, but nevertheless a new 
life, better than the old life of sin and of alienation from God. 
Rest is promised ; the rest which now we have in hope, — the rest 
of the heavenly home. And hence we read: ''Being justified by 
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" 
(Rom. 5:1); and, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from 
heaven (II Thess. 1: 7) there remaineth "a sabbath rest for the 
people of God" (Hebrews 4: 9). Like those who have slaked 
their thirst, we shall be refreshed and shall press on to the goal. 

Let us not come short of this promise, but hear and heed the 
loving invitation, "Come unto me," then shall we indeed enter 
into the rest of God's people. 

Our sister loved this word of God. She filled her soul with the 
sunshine of this Scripture passage; she drank the refreshing 
water of life at this fountain; what a comfort during the long 
months of patient suffering and waiting. She came to Jesus. 
"Weary, heavy-laden, at times deeply concerned for husband and 
children, saddened at the realization that she must leave this 
world after only so short a time in it, grief-stricken because she 
could not help her husband who was called to be a minister of 
Jesus Christ, yet refreshed beyond the power of language to tell 



36 rUNERALSERMONS 

because she brought her burdens and cares to Jesus. And how 
tenderly he cared for her! Her burdens became his; he took 
them all on himself; he sustained her faith; he supported her in 
the last trials; and finally he gave her rest — heaven's never- 
ending Sabbath-rest. 

Dear brother, a heavy blow has fallen on you. With your 
little children you mourn today the death of a beloved wife and 
mother. Your loss has shaken your whole being. A great joy and 
comfort and help has gone out of your life. You have so often 
comforted others: we seek today to minister comfort to your 
sorrowing soul. Let the word which upheld your dear wife be 
your stay. You and she together have thought and talked over 
this sublime word. You have both found in it the eternal prom- 
ise. You have been enabled, by this sweet word, to bear more 
patiently your burden of sorrow, as you foresaw what was com- 
ing. And now that your dear wife's sufferings are ended, her 
life, her faith, her hope, and her dying request point you and 
your motherless children to the consolations of this great Gospel- 
word: ''Come unto me." Surely you, who have admonished oth- 
ers to repose their faith in Christ, will not fail to lay your hand 
confidently in his, will not hesitate in humble faith and tender 
love to come unto him. And he who has not forsaken those who 
truly called on him, will not now forsake you as you draw nigh, 
the tears in your eyes, but triumphant faith in your heart. 

Members of this Christian congregation: your pastor's be- 
reavement is also yours. The parsonage has become dear to you. 
That building housed precious lives. Parents and children lived 
there : your pastor and his family. What a happy home it was ! 
And death has invaded this home. You mourn with your beloved 
pastor. How indifferent congregations often are to the needs, the 
burdens, the sorrows of faithful, self-sacrificing pastors. Such a 
crime is not laid to your charge, thank God! Yet there are, 
doubtless, some among you who are not deeply concerned about 



COMEUNTOME 37 

the ministrations of the Gospel, nor particularly interested in the 
welfare or the worries of the parsonage. If there be any such 
persons here today, may this visitation be to them an earnest 
admonition. Ye hardened souls, prepare to meet your God! Seek 
to be, in humble repentance and faith, like your pastor's wife. 
Come to Jesus ! Perhaps it is for you the last call. Come today, 
this moment, before the night of death falls. God's blessing on 
you, dear people, who in the spirit of Christ have done what you 
could. Faithful and sympathetic women among you have gone to 
the parsonage and have helped. Some of you have spoken earnest, 
comforting words — words that came straight from the heart and 
went to the heart. Others of you couldn't say much, but your 
tears, and your silent tokens of love, have spoken louder than 
words. Oh, don't forget your pastor and family in the dark days 
to come. Brighten, as much as you can, the lonely hours. And 
may each of you remember, not only the bereavement which your 
pastor, his children, and yourselves have suffered, but also the 
word which peals out like a church-bell during this service: 
''Come unto me." 

Immediately upon entering one of the largest and finest hos- 
pitals of America, one stands before a statue of heroic size. It is 
an image of the Christ. The head is slightly inclined toward the 
observer, the arms are extended, the hands are open. The whole 
attitude is symbolic of tenderness and sympathy. On the pedestal 
are recorded these words: "Come Unto Me." How appropriate 
that in a building, dedicated to the relief of painful human ills, 
this picture and symbol of divine love should be placed ! What a 
lesson to preacher, physician, and nurse ! What a sermon, what a 
message of hope, to the suffering who came there in quest of 
healing ! Ah, my friends, through all the world rings the message 
of our text, message of divine love and sympathy, of inspiration 
and hope ! Where men are faint and ill, where eyes are sightless 
and ears are deaf, where tongues are paralyzed and arms hang 



38 FUNERALSERMONS 

helpless, where sin and Satan have done their dastardly and 
deadly work, where gloom and despair sit enthroned — wherever 
men have any sort of need or trouble, stands the Christ (how 
often unseen and unheard), inviting in accents full of pity and 
mercy: ''Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, 
and I will give you rest." Amen. 



THE WAY TO A HAPPY HOME 
By Rev. H. P. Dannecker 

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed 
thereto according to thy word." — Ps. 119: 9. 

Occasion: For a Young Man 

Dear Mourning Friends : 

The way of a young man has been cut short by death. For 
twenty-six years he trod this earth. For twenty-six years the 
path of his life was more or less visible to you, and though you 
lost sight of it now and then as he was absent from your imme- 
diate circle, you could take it up again as often as he returned 
into your midst. Man's footsteps radiate from his home. He goes 
out from his home and returns to his home, and happy is he if he 
has such a home to which he can always return. It stands like a 
light-house by the sea with the lamp of love casting the light of 
welcome across his benighted path. What a boon to your boy 
was his home when disease had fastened its iron grip upon him 
and he dragged his weary footsteps toward that home where he 
knew that loving hearts and willing hands would take him in and 
help him bear his burden to the full extent of human ability. Oh, 
there is no place like a home to die in. There is no nurse like a 
loving mother. There is no counselor like a loving father. 

'^ 'Mid pleasures and palaces, tho' oft we may roam. 
Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.'' 

It certainly must be a source of comfort to you to know that 
your boy died at home. 

But his earthly way has been cut short. There will be no more 
footsteps of his leading out from his earthly home and back 

39 



40 FUNERAL SERMONS 

again. We carry him out, and no one will carry him back. He 
has no further need of such a home. But what has become of 
him? What has happened? Where has he gone? Will he never 
come back again to tell you where he has gone? Alas, no; his 
pathway has left the earth ; no mortal eye shall see the tracks of 
his wandering feet, no mortal ear shall hear their silent tread. 
They call this death. But what does it mean? Does it mean 
annihilation? Is there no such thing as immortality? Are these 
earthly homes our only, our last abode ? Is our last gasp of breath 
an eternal farewell to life and existence? Is your son nothing 
now — like a last year's flower, or is he something still, a living 
being whom you shall see, and know again as you knew him here 
on earth? Out of his earthly home here below he looked forward 
and upward to another home — the home of his Father in heaven. 
Was that a delusion, a dream? Come, dear friends, this is a 
question for you, and never was there such a time to answer it. 
Where is the son, the brother, the young man whom the icy hand 
of death has dragged out of his warm, loving home on earth ? 

I believe that he has found another home. I believe that he is 
still living. I believe that you may see him again. I believe what 
Jesus said: ''I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth 
in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever 
liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11: 25. 26). 
''In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14: 2). There 
is another home for us poor mortals, a home not made with hands, 
a home to take us in when earth will cast us off. And there is a 
way that leads to it, which all may find who seek. Let me speak 
to you of that way. 

The Way to a Happy Home after Death 

Our text points out : 

1. What that way is. 

2. How it may be found. 



THEWAYTOAHAPPYHOME 41 

The way that leads to the heavenly home of peace and rest 
with God can only be a clear way. Why does the Psalmist ask 
the question: ''Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" 
Because it is of the greatest importance for a young man to have 
a clean way. Because all depends upon such a clean way. Be- 
cause a clean w^ay is the only kind of a way that will lead him 
safely home to God. Because an unclean way, a godless life, a 
sinful career leads to hell, to the eternal prison prepared for the 
devil and his angels. It is not a question of mere taste; it is a 
question of life and death. It is not only a nice and an expedient 
thing for a young man to have a clean way, a clean, a sinless, a 
blameless, a holy life, but it is the only way that leads home to 
heaven. ''Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which 
no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12: 14). "Be ye holy; for I am 
holy," says the Lord our God (Peter 1: 16). "Be ye therefore 
perfect" (Matt. 5: 48). "Thou art not a God that hath pleasure 
in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee" (Ps. 5:4). An 
unclean way, a sinful life does not lead to heaven but to hell. 

But now then can any man get to heaven? Does any man on 
earth lead a perfect, a sinless life? Can any man stand upon the 
threshold of eternity and look back over a perfectly clean way — 
a sinless and spotless life? The Scriptures say: "If we say that 
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" 
(I John 1:8). No honest man will ever say: "I never failed; I 
never did wrong; my way is clean." It is only the hypocrite who 
dares to spread out his hands to God and say: "They are clean." 
An honest man will smite his breast like the publican and say: 
"God be merciful to me a sinner." This deplorable condition, 
this uncleanness before God, is not confined to the old. "We are 
all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy 
rags," says Isaiah (Isaiah 64: 6). "The imagination of man's 
heart is evil from his youth," says Moses (Gen. 8: 21). And 
David, looking way back to his very conception, says: "Behold, 



42 FUNERALSERMONS 

I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" 
(Ps. 51: 5). And what does the question in our text mean: 
' ' Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way ? " if the young 
are sinless? Why advise young people how to cleanse their way 
if that way is clean? Oh, it is a fatal delusion, with which the 
devil blinds so many young people and makes them feel carnally 
secure — this notion that one must be an old sinner before he has 
any cause to fear the wrath of God and pay any serious attention 
to the salvation of his soul. It is not God nor his Word, nor his 
people, but it is the frivolous world and its reckless followers 
who excuse the sins of the young as harmless ebullitions of 
youthful spirit, or as wild oats that all must sow and can sow 
without jeopardizing their immortal souls. It is a delusion of the 
devil to imagine that God does not hold young men and women 
accountable for every transgression of his law of which they 
become guilty. God's Word says: '^ Rejoice, young man, in thy 
youth ; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and 
walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : 
but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into 
judgment" (Eccl. 11 : 9). Far from excusing the sins of his youth, 
David specifies them in his prayer for forgiveness and says: 
*' Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions" 
(Ps. 25: 7). Let us then have done with this popular deception 
that a young man's way is not polluted by the sins of his youth 
and that the young are not under divine condemnation on account 
of their transgressions. '^ There is no difference: for all have 
sinned," the young and the old, "and come short of the glory of 
God" (Rom. 3: 22). And the soul that sinneth has not the prom- 
ise of life and a home in heaven, but must die. 

Remembering now that the only way that leads to heaven is a 
clean way, and that no man's way is clean by nature, what hope 
have we poor sinners of ever entering a happy home after death? 
None at all, if left to our own resources, to our own righteous- 



THEWAYTOAHAPPYHOME 43 

ness. None at all, unless God, in his infinite goodness and mercy, 
prepares a new way. And blessed be his name for evermore, he 
has found a new way to bring the sinner home. He has found 
and provides us with that which will cleanse the sinner's way, 
which will take away the pollution of sin. You cannot brush sin 
off your soul as you brush the dust from your clothes. Sin stains : 
it stains deeply and all the cleansing preparations of man will 
never take it out. But I am glad that it can be taken out of a 
soul. I am glad that we have reason to believe that the ugly stain 
was taken out of this young soul whose mortal clay lies before us 
in this coffin. There is an acid that will take away the stain of 
sin: there is a laver that will cleanse a young man's and an old 
man's, a young woman's and an old woman's way, that will leave 
a sinner as white as snow though his sins be red like crimson. It 
is the precious blood of Jesus that trickled down the cross on 
Calvary. It is the blood of God's own Lamb, that was shed for the 
remission of sins. ' ' The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth 
us from all sin" (I John 1: 7). Who are they that have reached 
the beautiful hom.e and stand around the throne of God in gar- 
ments so clean, so white? ''These are they which came out of 
great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7: 14). 

Jesus is the only way that leads to a happy home after death. 
''I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the 
Father, but by me" (John 14: 6). No young man and no old man 
will ever be able to cleanse his way, purge his conscience of guilt, 
escape the penalty of his transgressions except through the aton- 
ing blood of Jesus Christ. ''Neither is there salvation in any 
other: for there is none other name under heaven given among 
men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4: 12). What a reason 
to find this one way ! What a reason to make sure that you have 
found Jesus and his salvation ! Jesus is our only Savior and only 
way to heaven and home ! 



44 FUNERAL SERMONS 

"Other refuge have I none; 
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee: 
Leave, oh, leave me not alone, 
Still support and comfort me. 
All my trust on Thee is stayed, 
All my help from Thee I bring: 
Cover my defenceless head 
With the shadow of Thy wing." 

How may Jesus, the sinner's only way to heaven, be found? 
How may we become partakers of his salvation to our poor, sinful 
souls? ''Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By 
taking heed thereto according to thy Word." The answer is 
simple and to the point. God's Word must be your guide, if you 
would find the only way to heaven. 

It is a fatal error when men expect to be saved without the 
atoning blood of Christ. But it is just as fatal an error when they 
expect to find Christ and become partakers of his salvation 
without the Word of God, the divinely appointed means of grace. 
When the Bible declares that ''without faith it is impossible to 
please God" (Heb. 11: 6), and that "he that believeth not shall 
be damned" (Mark 16: 16), it does not only drive men to Christ 
as the only Savior but also to the Word of God and the sacra- 
ments as the only means through which they can become and 
remain believers in Christ, or Christians. Faith in Christ is 
essential unto salvation ; but the Word of God and the sacraments 
are just as essential, because they are the only means given unto 
us, through which faith can be wrought in our hearts. As without 
faith there is no salvation, so without the Word of God there is no 
faith. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of 
God" (Rom. 10: 17). "Blessed are they that hear the Word of 
God and keep it" (Luke 11: 28). "They have Moses and the 
prophets: let them hear them," said Abraham to the rich man 
in hell, when he prayed that Lazarus should be sent to his 
brethren on earth, to warn them lest they also come into the 



THE WAY TO A HAPPY HOME 45 

place of torment (Luke 16 : 27-29). The rich man and his brethren 
on earth had an aversion to Moses and the prophets: they had 
no faith in the Word, but despised and neglected it as a worthless 
thing. But Abraham insists on Moses and the prophets, and de- 
clares that if that does not warn and save them from the torments 
of the damned, nothing else will. It is not only one way out of 
many, but it is the only waj^ in which a young man can cleanse his 
way, by taking heed thereto according to God's "Word. 

God's Word alone can bring men to Christ as they must come 
to him if they would be washed clean by his precious blood. That 
wonderful change, the new birth without which no man can 
enter the kingdom of heaven, is wrought by the power of the 
Word in baptism. No true conversion takes place without the 
Word of God. There is no spiritual light and life, no true repent- 
ance and faith, no nourishment on which faith can grow, no 
strength to fight sin and temptation, no gratitude for divine fav- 
ors and blessings, no love for the Savior, no desire to do the will 
of the Lord, no joy in his service, no consecration to his cause, no 
fidelity to his Church and people, without the regenerating, 
strengthening, inspiring grace that flows from the Word of God. 
If you want to get into communication with God, in touch with 
God, into saving covenant with God, you must use the Word of 
God, and the sacraments. It is true, some men are saved ''as by 
fire," through a weak faith, but even there it is the blood of 
Christ that saves them ; while those who have a strong faith, who 
strive after holiness and are zealous in good works, you will 
always find to be readers of the Bible and regular attendants at 
Church and the Lord's Table. Oh, the Word, the precious Word 
of God, if we would use that more faithfully, how clean would be 
our way, how richly adorned with all good works, how bright in 
the hour of death ! 

What a blessing that you mourning parents could say to your 
dying son what Paul wrote to Timothy: "And that from a child 



46 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make 
thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus" 
(II Tim. 3 : 15). You may well thank God that you had not failed 
to teach him the savmg Word of God. He knew where salvation 
was to be found. He knew how his way could be cleansed, and in 
the anxious days of his sickness his best, his only comfort was the 
blessed Word of God. It seems to me that this blessed Word 
ought to be more precious to you now than it ever was before. 
It cleansed your son's way: it brought him the saving blood. 
It was the only remedy that helped him. If in your anxious 
search you had found a medicine to cure your boy's consumption, 
I am sure you would have published it, your mouths would have 
been full of praise, you would have recommended it everywhere. 
Why not recommend the Word of God now, treasure it more 
highly; trust it more implicitly and resolve to use it more faith- 
fully? It did more for your boy than any medicine could do: it 
saved his soul, it gave him a home in heaven. 

Is there a young man or a young woman here today, who is 
indifferent to God's Word, who has become a stranger in church 
and at the Lord's Table, who no longer reads his Bible nor 
breathes a prayer to God — let him take warning, let him heed the 
lesson of this solemn hour. What a sermon this young man, now, 
that he has entered into a full realization of all that God's Word 
caji do for a poor sinner, could preach if he could open his lips 
and speak to you. He would tell you how he was tempted to 
drift away from the saving Word, and to cast himself into the 
seductive arms of the world, as young people are so sorely tempted 
to do in these materialistic times. He would tell you how his 
sickness was a very Godsend to bring him back again to the 
blessed Word and its Savior. I remember well how he came to 
me last Christmas, just before going to Denver, and announced 
himself for communion. He had not been at the Lord's Table 
for a good while, and it seemed that he was afraid there might 



THE WAY TO A HAPPY HOME 47 

be some objections to his communing. But when I noticed the 
tremor of his lips, the tears in his eyes, the stamp of death upon 
his brow and the expression of a serious purpose on his face, I 
had not the heart to reprove him, but said to myself : ' ' This young 
man is in dead earnest ; he wants to get near the Savior with his 
heavy burden, and thank God he still knows where to find him. ' ' 
Oh, how he would preach to you if he could speak, and tell you 
that the only way for a young man to cleanse his way, is by 
taking heed thereto according to God's Word. God help us all 
to heed the lesson and find the way to the eternal home in heaven. 
Seek that way, ye mourning friends, and you will meet your loved 
one again in that blessed home after death where God wipes 
away all tears. 

**Let countless thousands choose the road 
That leads the soul away from God; 
This happiness, dear Lord, be mine, 
To live and die entirely Thine.*' 

Amen. 



THE SILVER CORD IS LOOSED, THE GOLDEN 
BOWL IS BROKEN 

By Rev. J. H. Kuhlman 

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil 
days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no 
pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars he 
not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: in the days when the 
keepers of the house shall tremhle, and the strong men shall how them- 
selves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look 
out of the windows, he darkened, and the doors shall he shut in the 
streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the 
voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; also 
when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the 
way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a bur- 
den, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home and the 
mourners go about the streets; or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the 
golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the 
wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it 
was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vani- 
ties, saith the preacher: all is vanity." — Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8. 

Occasion: Funeral Sermon on the Death of a Young 
Married Woman 

Death is always dreadful. When he enters our homes, we 
try to hide that dreadfulness as much as possible. We try to con- 
ceal his hideous face, his ghastly countenance. We try to make 
our dead as beautiful, as life-like as we can. We clothe them in 
white shrouds. We lay them in caskets with silken lining. We 
heap flowers upon the bier. But, after all, death remains dread- 
ful, and we cannot deny it. 

We also speak of death in beautiful terms, so that we may for- 
get his terror. We invent sweet names for him. We summon to our 

48 



THE SILVER CORD AND GOLDEN BOWL 49 

assistance all the practical expressions in our language. We 
speak of our dead as those who have departed, those who have 
fallen asleep, those who have gone to the farther shore. But, after 
all, it amounts to very little. He remains death, death the dread- 
ful one. 

Only the Christian can really comfort himself with sweet 
names for death. Only the Christian, who has a risen Lord, can 
rightly use the comforting Scriptural names that describe death. 
Only the Christian uses life aright, preparing for death, heeding 
the injunction: ''Kemember now thy Creator in the days of thy 
youth, while the evil days come not ... or ever the silver 
cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken." 

Beautiful, poetical words of Solomon concerning death ! They 
are part of the word of our God, and as Christians we may use 
them. As Christians we look down today upon our dear young 
sister, so white and still upon her snowy-white bed, and say in 
sorrow and yet with joy: 

The Silver Cord is Loosed, the Golden Bowl is Broken 

I. The Silver Cord is Loosed: The silver cord that held this 
young life, that mysterious silver cord which bound together body 
and soul, is loosed. The dust shall "return to the earth as it was, 
and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." But it is 
only loosed, not severed, not torn asunder; but merely loosed 
during the night of the grave, loosed long enough to let the soul 
slip out of its bond for a season and leave the body lie alone. 
But when the morning comes, the morning of that great resur- 
rection day, the silver cord shall bind them together again, this 
body and this soul, bind them together forever and forever. 

The silver cord is loosed, that silver cord of love, that bright 
bond of pure affection, which bound you together, as husband 
and wife, on your marriage day, but which was destined to hold 
you in its tender bonds for, alas, so short a time only. The heav- 



50 FUNERAL SERMONS 

enly Bridegroom came and called her. Listen, how Solomon de- 
scribes this coming to the church: ''Rise up, my love, my fair 
one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the flowers appear 
on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come. " So it 
was with your bride. When the winter was past, when the flow- 
ers began to bloom and the birds began to sing, the Bridegroom 
came and called: "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come 
away." But for Christians the silver cord is only loosed, not 
severed, not forever torn asunder. It is loosed long enough to 
allow your dear wife to slip out of it, for a season, to leave you, 
husband, alone for a little while — but only for a little while. 
There in heaven the silver cord will be bound around you both 
again, and hold you heart to heart forever and forever. 

The silver cord is loosed, that silver cord of tender love and 
sweet affection, which bound you, parents, you, brothers and 
sisters, to your departed one. For you, too, has come the time 
of which our text speaks: the evil days, the years "when thou 
shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." For you the sun, the 
light of the moon and the stars seem darkened. "Man goeth to 
his long home and the mourners go about the streets." But mourn 
not as those who have no hope. Courage, Christians! Death has 
not broken the silver cord forever. It is but loosed, loosed long 
enough to let this dear one rise up and slip quietly out of the 
family circle — for a little while. So shall you all pass out, one by 
one. But what was bound by God on earth, shall be bound in 
heaven. There the silver cord will be drawn tight again and hold 
this family circle together, hold them, without parting, forever 
and forever. 

The silver cord is loosed, that silver cord which bound her, 
together with us, in the bonds of the Christian church. 'Tis the 
silver cord of the love of Jesus Christ, binding us together in the 
one faith, in the one hope of eternal life, binding us all together 
in one great family here on earth. The cord is loosed — ^not broken 



THE SILVER CORD AND GOLDEN BOWL 51 

— to let one member go from the lower part of the encircling bond 
to the upper. For, lo, this silver cord reaches from the valley of 
tears into the heights of Paradise, enclosing in its silver strands 
the very angels of God. 

^'The saints on earth and those above 
But one communion make: 
Joined to their Lord, in bonds of love, 
All of his grace partake. '' 

Again and again the cord is loosed to let one member rise up 
and go before. But there in heaven the blessed bonds shall be 
drawn tight again. There the silver cord of the love of the Lamb 
shall bind us and unite us into one great family before the throne 
of God, bind us and unite us forever and forever. The silver 
cord is loosed. 

II. The Golden Bowl is Broken: She who lies before us was 
beautiful like a golden bowl. Before disease and death ravaged 
this body it was particularly fair, and graced with a mind and 
temperament peculiarly sweet and brave. Yes, as we knew her 
in the days gone by, she was lik-e a golden bowl, a masterpiece 
of the Creator's hand. Alas, it is broken. As it lies here before 
us, you would scarcely know it for the golden bowl it once was, 
though some of the fairness and fineness remains. Oh, how death, 
dreadful death, had to hammer it with his hammers of pain and 
disease, how long he had to beat upon it till it broke, how long it 
withstood his stoutest blows. At last it gave way. In the lan- 
guage of our text, the evil days came, when ''the keepers of the 
house trembled, . . . men bowed themselves" — these lithe 
limbs gave way; when "the grinders ceased" — these small, white 
teeth refused to act: "when those that look out of the windows 
were darkened" — these bright eyes closed in death. 

The golden bowl is broken, but mark well, my brethren, the 
contents of the bowl are not poured out. The contents of the 
bowl, the immortal spirit, God has preserved in his heavenly 



52 FUNERALSERMONS 

kingdom. In the moment of death were fulfilled the words of 
our text : ' ' Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and 
the spirit shall return unto the God who gave it." 

^'Eemember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Our 
dear sister remembered him, who created not only her body but 
also her soul, and whose will it was that this soul should return 
unto him. She remembered her Creator in the days of her youth, 
in her baptism, in her confirmation, in her daily life, in the serv- 
ices at her church. But especially when the evil days came, the 
days of sickness and weakness, she remembered her Creator and 
Redeemer. It was he who gave her strength to face so bravely, 
so cheerfully, so patiently, so unflinchingly, as few can, that dire 
disease, that dread white plague, which annually slays its thou- 
sands and ten thousands. It was his comfort that sustained her 
in death's darkness, particularly those words of the psalmist 
that seem to apply so well to her malady: ''He shall deliver thee 
from the noisome pestilence. Thou shalt not be afraid for the 
terror by night ; nor for the arrow that flieth by day ; nor for the 
pestilence that walketh in darkness ; nor for the destruction that 
wasteth at noonday. ' ' All the time, while death was battering the 
golden bowl of her life, she strove, by the grace of God, to give 
the contents of the bowl, her spirit, unblemished into the keeping 
of her Lord Jesus Christ. 

Though now the golden bowl is broken and the fragments 
must return to the dust, yet out of that dust, on that great day, 
God will fashion a vessel far finer and fairer, a body glorious, like 
unto the glorious body of Christ. In heaven this new and golden 
bowl will contain forever the sainted spirit, redeemed by the 
blood of Jesus Christ. ''Wherefore comfort one another with 
these words." 

But for you, too, mourning friends, and for us all, dear con- 
gregation, sooner or later, the silver cord of life shall be loosed, 
the golden bowl of the body shall be broken. "Vanity of vanities, 



THE SILVER CORD AND GOLDEN BOWL 53 

saith the preacher; all is vanity." The vain world passeth away. 
Soon we must all go to our long home. When that time comes, 
do you desire that this cord be bound again, this bowl restored 
in beauty? If so, "remember now thy Creator." Now is the 
time. Do not put it off until the evil days come, and "the years 
draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." 
Do not wait until sun, moon and stars are darkened, until "the 
keepers of the house" tremble and "the strong men bow them- 
selves," and "the grinders cease," and "those that look out of 
the windows be darkened." Let us hear the conclusion of the 
whole matter: "fear God and keep his commandments": and 
this is his greatest commandment: "That ye might believe that 
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing, ye might 
have life through his name." 

Then, when the last hour comes, we can face it as bravely, as 
did this patient soul. Then we shall not fear, but shall go rejoic- 
ing to meet our dear ones on the other side. Though death and all 
his dreadful following of sickness and disease hem us in on every 
side, we look up to the Lord of Life and say in faith : 

"I fear no foe, with. Thee at hand to bless: 
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. '' 

The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken. Lord, do 
thou bind again the silver cord ! Do thou restore the golden bowl 
in heavenly beauty! Amen. 



BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH 
By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

**. . . Be thLOu faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of 
life."— Rev. 2: 10. 

Occasion : For a comparatively young woman, active and faithful 
in Christ's service. The text was her coniarmation verse. 

This text is familiar and precious to everyone who has been 
instructed and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The earnest 
pastor takes frequent occasion to impress on the heart of his 
catechumens the admonition, ''Be thou faithful." These words 
are often used as a text for the confirmation sermon, and the list 
of memory verses employed in the rite of confirmation invariably 
includes this word of Scripture. 

The appropriateness of this passage for the solemn confirma- 
tion season will at once be admitted by anyone familiar with the 
Bible and in sympathy with the beautiful customs of the Lutheran 
Church. The catechumens are assuming obligations of more than 
ordinary importance. To themselves, their parents, their friends, 
this is an impressive moment, one they will never forget. 

**Ye men and angels, witness now, 
Before the Lord we speak; 
To Him we make our solemn vow, 
A vow we may not break. 

^'That long as life itself shall last, 
Ourselves to Christ we'll yield; 
Nor from His cause will we depart, 
Or ever quit the field.'' 

The custom of using the memory-verse, spoken by the pastor 
at confirmation, for a funeral text, obtains in some places. This 

54 



BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH 55 

custom cannot, for obvious reasons, be followed invariably. But 
surely, on this occasion, when we preach on the special verse used 
some years ago at the confirmation of our sister in Christ, no one 
will question the appropriateness and rightfulness of the choice. 

Be Thou Faithful Unto Death / 

The text forms part of a letter addressed to the pastor of the 
church in Smyrna. In the words, "Be thou faithful unto death," 
we have 

An Earnest Admonition : Smyrna has had a long and eventful 
history, extending back hundreds of years before Christ. It has 
figured in many wars and battles, and has often passed from one 
power to another; but, notwithstanding 'its checkered career, it 
still stands, under the modern name of Ismir, a Turkish corrup- 
tion of the ancient name ; and, with its population of 250,000, is 
noted as the largest city in Asia Minor. 

We are told that in Roman times Smyrna was the "most bril- 
liant city of Asia Minor, successfully rivaling Pergamos and 
Ephesus. ' ' It was a great trading-center, situated as it was in an 
excellent harbor, and at the head of one of the main highways 
leading to the interior. To this ' ' city of life, ' ' this ' ' queenly city 
crowned with her diadem of towers," came at an early time the 
greatest opportunity that can come to individual, city, or nation. 
The Spirit of God came there in the Gospel. What a day must 
that have been when Smyrna heard for the first time about "the 
unsearchable riches of Christ"! 

The letter to the church at Smyrna is from Jesus Christ: 
"These things saith the first and the last, who was dead (became 
dead), and lived again" (verse 8). The epistle is written, not 
in "cold admiration" but in "warm affection." The church has 
already suffered tribulation, its poverty is known, the presence 
of a bitter enemy, in the Jews who form a synagogue of Satan, is 



56 rUNERAL SERMONS 

recognized. The past has been one of suffering and trial. The 
immediate future offers no relief from persecution. "Fear none 
of those things which thou art about to suffer. Behold, the devil 
is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; 
and ye shall have tribulation ten days." With these things in 
prospect, how suitable the word of earnest adijionition : "Be thou 
faithful unto death." 

Some of you, says this letter, are to be cast into prison. You 
will be condemned. You will suffer for your faith's sake. Even 
death will be the sentence imposed. Be faithful to the point of 
suffering death. Don't surrender your faith in Jesus, your Sav- 
ior. When the fiery hour of trial comes, think of him who endured 
such contradiction of sinners against himself, who died the shame- 
ful death of the cross that you might live forever. Be faithful; 
persevere; hold out. 

With these things in mind, what importance and solemnity 
should attach to our text when we use it at our confirmation 
services. The day of confirmation was, for our deceased sister, 
one of the great days of her life. When she promised to renounce 
the devil and all his works and ways; the world with all its 
pomp ; the flesh with all its evil desires — she meant what she said. 
She took no idle vows, no empty words upon her lips. When 
she confessed her faith in the Father, who loved her and made 
her; in the Son, who loved her and redeemed her; in the Holy 
Spirit, who loved her and was day by day sanctifying her — she 
understood what she was confessing and with confidence and joy 
gave utterance to her faith. When she promised to continue 
steadfast in the faith she had confessed and to serve the Lord 
Jesus Christ by a godly life, even unto the end, she realized what 
she was doing, and gave the promise with her whole heart. And 
when her head was bowed and her hands devoutly folded during 
the act of confirmation, she received this word of earnest admoni- 
tion: "Be thou faithful unto death." 



BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH 57 

Our sister did not receive this word in vain, but accepted it 
as it was in truth, a message from God to her soul. She did what 
she could. Humble duties were faithfully done. Larger tasks were 
performed with equal fidelity. She was conscientious. Never 
boasting, either before God or men, she modestly went her way. 
She confessed, ''Lord, have mercy on me." In this contrite, be- 
lieving spirit she discharged her duty. Whether in the home or at 
her daily work, whether in the Sunday-school or in tjie Luther 
League, she had but one thought: to be faithful. 

"Unto death." Even today it costs something to be a Chris- 
tian. Yea, to be a genuine confessor and follower of Christ, means 
persecution. It does not mean literal death, perhaps; but often 
the trial is almost as severe. The deceased was a popular young 
woman. Her beautiful face, lit with the joy and peace of heaven; 
her happy disposition and gracious manners, won her many 
friends. But when these friends sought to take her away for a 
Sunday's outing, she told them that her place was at Sunday- 
school and church. "When other interests and arrangements would 
interfere with her attendance at Luther League meetings, she re- 
fused to be turned aside from the path of duty. This faithfulness 
cost her some friends ; it even exposed her to criticism and ridicule 
in some quarters. She was often a victim of modern forms of 
persecution. But she proved faithful. 

We pray that this spirit may be more general amongst us, and 
that our young people may not be seeking "the life of mere ease 
or mere pleasure, ' ' but may know and experience that ' ' the life 
of duty" makes the "great man as it makes the great nation." 
Let the spirit of Polycarp, the venerable Bishop of Smyrna, be in 
you, my dear young people. Polycarp refused to deny his Lord 
and Saviour, whom for six and eighty years he had served, and 
from whom he had experienced nothing but love and mercy. He 
went joyfully up to the stake, relates the historian, and amidst 
the flames praised God for having deemed him worthy "to be 



58 FUNERALSERMONS 

numbered among his martyrs, to drink the cup of Christ's suf- 
ferings, unto the eternal resurrection of the soul and the body in 
the incorruption of the Holy Spirit." 

The other portion of our text awaits consideration: "I will 
give thee a crown of life. ' ' 

A Gracious Reward is here promised: The language of this 
letter seems to have been chosen with special reference to the 
situation and the experiences of the Smyrnaeans. The idea of 
faithfulness would appeal to them, since they prided themselves 
in their fidelity to the Roman government. Their ' ' singular fidel- 
ity" was praised by a Roman historian. Cicero lauded them as 
''the most faithful of our allies." And they well deserved the 
encomiums bestowed on them. Smyrna "had established its his- 
toric claim to the epithet 'faithful' in three centuries of loyalty. 
The city had been faithful to Rome in danger and difficulty. The 
citizens had stripped off their own garments to send to the Roman 
soldiers when suffering from cold and the hardships of a winter 
campaign," 

Similarly, the reference to a crown would at once be recog- 
nized as a singularly happy thought. " 'The crown of Smyrna' 
was a familiar phrase with the Smyrn^ans." Travelers describe 
the hill Pagos, at whose foot and on the lower skirts of which 
rose the buildings of the city. On the rounded top of this hill, 
we are informed, were stately public buildings. Standing in 
conspicuous place and orderly array, these structures formed 
a crown to the city. But the inhabitants of Smyrna were, on one 
occasion, reminded that "it is a greater charm to wear a crown 
of men than a crown of porticoes." And so, when this immortal 
epistle was addressed to them, the Smyrnaeans were reminded 
that the crown of everlasting life is to be preferred above the 
crown of civic charm and beauty. 

"A crown" — symbol of victory. Coronation follows conflict. 
To obtain this crown one must fight the good fight of faith. Sin, 



BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH 59 

Satan and hell are the foes which must be met. From the cradle 
to the grave they beset and assail us. With a thousand arts and 
wiles, with threats, with every conceivable weapon they seek our 
overthrow. ''But thanks be to God. which giveth us the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. ' ' Through the power of him that 
loved us we come off more than conquerors. The crown is a gift 
— a pure gift of grace. We have not merited it. ''Not of works, 
lest any man should boast." When we were yet in our sins God 
loved us and planned our redemption. Christ fully gave himself 
a ransom for many and himself earned our release. The Holy 
Spirit comes to us with the offer of salvation, bidding us buy 
without money and without price. 

** Grace first contrived the way 
To save rebellious man; 
And all the steps that grace display 
Which drew the wondrous plan. 

''Grace all the work shall crown 
Through everlasting days; 
It lays in heaven the topmost stone 
And well deserves the praise.'' 

"A crown of life" — wonderful gift! Not money! Not fame! 
Not honors! Not lands! But life! Glorious life! Eternal life! 
Life in fellowship with God, with angels, with saints! Life free 
from every sin and blemish, from every taint and imperfection! 
Life in holiness and purity before God forever! Kings cannot 
give it, nor can they take it away. It cannot be bought for money, 
it cannot be achieved by human effort or merit. It is the free gift 
of a loving God. St. Paul exults in the prospect of this reward of 
grace. He calls it "a crown of righteousness" which the Lord 
will give him in "that day," and not to him only, but to all them 
also that love Christ's appearing. 

Our sister wears today a crown. Here is a crown of life. 
Parents and friends, rejoice in this — your loved one has gained, 



60 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



through Christ, a great victory. By the grace of God she has 
conquered selfishness, false ambitions, the allurements of the 
world and the invitations of false friends. She has remained 
faithful and upon her brow now rests a crown of life. See to it 
that you abide faithful. ''It is required in stewards that a man 
be found faithful. You have work to do. God calls you. He bids 
you labor in his vineyard. He admonishes: ''Be thou faithful." 
He warns you of danger, temptation, and persecution — "unto 
death." He promises the victors a reward whose glory is inde- 
scribable — "a crown of life." 

There's a crown for you, for me. What comfort! "And when 
the chief shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown 
of glory that fadeth not away" (I Peter 5:4). 

*'Must Jesus bear the cross alone, 
And all the world go free? 
No, there's a cross for every one, 
And there's a cross for me. 

''The consecrated cross I'll bear 
Till Christ shall set me free, 
And then go home my crown to wear — 
For there's a crown for me." 

Amen. 



Part III 



INDEX— PART III 



Text 

Eom. 8: 31, 32 
John 11: 25: 26 
IThess.4: 13-18 

Rom. 8: 38, 39 
II Cor. 6: 9 

II Kings 20: 1 
James 4: 13-15 

Rev. 7: 9-17 
Matt. 7: 21 
Psalm 16: 11 

Matt. 25: 21 

I Thess. 4: 13 

Rom. 6: 25 
Psalm 119: 92 

II Cor. 5: 1-9 
Acts 16: 30, 31 



I Peter 1: 3-5 
John 13: 7 



Occasion 

For a husband and father 

For a brother 

For a theological professor's 

wife 

For a middle-aged Christian 

For a godly woman in hmnble 

circumstances 

For a stranger 

Accidental death of husband 

and father 

For a good church member 

For a Christian man 

For a middle-aged church 

member 

For a middle-aged pastor 

For a prominent church mem- 
ber 

For a faithful church member 

and the father of a family. 

For husband, father and 

brother 

For a middle-aged consistent 

Christian man 

For a worldly-minded man 
who repented on his death- 
bed 

For a middle-aged Christian 

For a suicide 



Author Page 
Rev. H. P. Dannecker __ 3 
R€v. W. E. Tressel 11 

Rev.L. H. Schuh 18 

Rev. J. H. Schneider ___ 23 

Rev. Prof. C. B. Gohdes- 33 
Rev. W. E. Schramm 41 

Rev. S. P. Long 46 

Rev. G. J. Troutman 51 

Rev. G. J. Troutman 57 

'Rev. M. R. Walter 64 

Rev.L. H. Schuh 70 

R«v. Prof. D. H. Bauslin 78 

R«v. J. W. Schillinger___ 95 

Rev. H. J. Schuh 102 

Rev. F. B. Clausen 109 



Rev. L. H. Schuh 115 

Rev. Prof. G. Rygh 122 

Rev. G. J. Troutman 128 



THE COMFORT OF CHRISTIAN MOURNERS IN THE 
HOUR OF AFFLICTION 

By Rev. H. P. Dannecker 

"What shall we then say to these things? If God "be for us, who can 
he against us? He that spared not his own Son, hut delivered him up for 
us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?*' — ^Rom. 
8: 31, 32. 

Occasion: For the Funeral of a Husband and Father 

Dear Mourning Friends: The great affliction which has be- 
fallen you has caused us to assemble in the house of God at this 
unusual hour. The cause of your afflictions and present grief is 
not hard to find. It lies before us in that somber casket, which 
contains the remains of a loving husband and father. He was 
taken from you when his soul took its sudden flight on Monday 
morning, and now you are on your way to give up the body also 
by laying it away in the silent grave. And we, your friends, have 
come with you to mingle our tears with yours and to offer you 
what consolation we can give. For this purpose we bid the de- 
parted one our last farewell at his grave. God grant that this 
sojourn at his house will do you good. 

Look about you. It is the church, your heavenly Father's 
house on earth, the place where he has promised to meet you and 
bless you. '* Where two or three are gathered together in my 
name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18: 20). He is 
here now. He is looking down upon you. He sees that coffin. He 
sees your tears. He knows just how it happened and how you 
feel. You need not tell him anything. Only lean your weary 
heads upon his loving bosom and let him comfort you. 

He will comfort you. He will comfort you as a mother com- 
forteth her child. He will comfort you with the sweet sound of 

3 



4 FUNERAL SERMONS 

his voice in his holy Word. He speaks to you in our text: ''What 
shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be 
against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him 
up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" 
Oh, let the blessed, assuring words find entrance into your hearts. 
They will comfort you. They will give you strength to bear up 
under this heavy blow, this trying affliction. I know that they 
will do you good if you will only listen to the sweet voice of your 
heavenly Father that speaks through them. Let me help you to 
catch the sweet sound and grasp the comforting assurance that 
is in them by pointing out to you: 

The Comfort of Christian Mourners in the Hour of Affliction 

Let me show you: 

1. Its necessity. 

2. Its nature. 

3. Its ground. 

1. Mourners, and even Christian mourners, have great need of 
comfort. Because we are God's children by faith in Jesus Christ 
does not exempt us Christians from the sickness and sorrow and 
pain and death that fall to the lot of every mortal being in this 
sinful world. These things come from sin, and *'as by one man 
sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed 
upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5: 12). But what 
then is the advantage of being a Christian? There is a great 
advantage. While we Christians must suffer pain and sickness 
and death in this evil world just like the ungodly, we know ''that 
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared 
with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8: 18). We 
Christians have a comfort and consolation when these things 
befall us, while the ungodly have no comfort. The ungodly 



THE COMFORT OF CHRISTIAN MOURNERS 5 

suffer more under the trying afflictions of this present life than 
we Christians do, because they have no hope, no peace with God, 
no assurance that all things work together for their good. To 
them death, the culmination of all human ills, is nothing but 
sorrow, an irreparable loss, a mysterious horror, with no redeem- 
ing feature whatever, with no use, no advantage and no gain. 
"What shall we say to these things?" to them is a question that 
admits of no cheerful, hope-inspiring answer. What shall we say 
to these things? "Why nothing," say the ungodly, "we can say 
nothing; all that we can do, is to suffer them as best we can; 
they simply cannot be helped." What would an unbeliever say 
to this present calamity which has befallen these our friends? 
What could he say, except that it could not be helped, that they 
must bear it, and not take it so hard, but think that it is our 
common lot and forget it as soon as they can. This is all that he 
could say honestly. But what kind of comfort would that be? 
You have lost a dear father and your mother is lying sick at home, 
and your hearts are sore and your tears are falling fast. Forget 
it ! Simply think that it had to be ! Oh, what miserable comfort is 
this stoical indifference, this blind fatalism of the world. If I had 
no better consolation than that to offer, I would keep still at least, 
and not insult such poor, afflicted hearts, the widow and the 
orphans, by adding to their cup of sorrow the bitter poison of 
despair. Oh, there is an advantage in being a Christian, a child 
of God, a believer in Christ and his Word, in the hour of such 
affliction. A Christian can give and receive comfort, the very best 
of comfort, comfort that will bind up the poor, wounded heart, 
that will take the poison out of the wound and assuage its great- 
est pain and make the affliction at least bearable. Aye, a Christian 
can give and receive such comfort that will cheer and gladden the 
heart in the midst of its great sorrow. This certainly makes it an 
advantage to be a Christian, and I am glad that we have that 
advantage. 



6 FUNEBAL SEBMONS 

But we Christians have no advantage over the godless in being 
exempt from such afflictions. *'Ye shall weep and lament,'* said 
Christ to his disciples (John 16: 20). Temporal prosperity is no 
criterion by which God's children may be recognized. The best of 
them, like Daniel and Job and poor Lazarus and the Apostles and 
martyrs, endured the greatest hardships and sufferings of this 
present life. God's children are subject to sickness and death and 
have need of comfort. We, also, my Christian brethren, must 
suffer and die; we, also, must mourn and weep like our friends 
who mourn and weep today, and that makes it necessary that we 
should be comforted. Our hearts sometimes cry out in sorrow and 
pain: ''What shall we say to these things?" and we want an 
answer, a good, comforting, reliable answer. 

2. And Christian mourners shall have that answer. They shall 
not cry out in vain. They shall not struggle on through the deep 
sea of trouble without a chart and compass, without knowing 
whither they are drifting. They shall not stand in stupid, speech- 
less sorrow before such an affliction like this, and not know why it 
was done and whether it bodes them good or evil. They shall be told. 
They shall be assured that all is well, that God watches over them and 
their dead and will turn all this sorrow, all this black, distressing 
darkness into sunshine and joy. They shall know and be assured that 
their dead who die in the Lord are not dead, but sleep for a brief 
space only to rise again in glory and perfect health. They shall 
be assured that their own death will be an inestimable gain, the 
happy exchange of a vale of tears for a pure and blessed home in 
heaven. ''If God be for us, who can be against us?" This is the 
Christian's triumph over all evil, over all sorrow and death. God 
is for us. 

He loves us. We need not fear his wrath on account of our 
sins, for he has forgiven them. We need not fear that everlasting 
debtor's prison, the infernal pit, because he has wiped out the 
debt. The fear that "we must all appear before the judgment- 



THE OOMrORT OP OHEISTIAN MOURNERS 7 

seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things done in this 
body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" 
(II Cor. 5 : 10), does not disturb the peace of our dying hour, even 
though we know that ''there is not a just man upon earth, that 
doeth good, and sinneth not ' ' (Eccles. 7 : 20) . But we are not afraid 
of the judgment to come, not of the sentence of condemnation 
which we have deserved because he who sits upon the judgment- 
seat has forgiven all our sins, and is no longer against us, but for 
us ; and if God be for us, who can be against us ? Oh, how sweet 
the knowledge, the assurance that God is for us, and will be- 
friend, yea, justify us in the dreadful judgment toward which all 
the world is hastening. This assurance is the very best cure for all 
our fears and sorrows. It strikes at the root of all our ills, it 
removes the cause of our greatest trouble, which is sin. What a 
glorious thing, what a sweet comfort it is for us Christians to be 
able to say : God is for us ! It means that God will save us from 
everlasting death. 

But it also means that he will protect us in this present life. 
He is our dear Father in heaven who takes care of his children in 
time and in eternity. As surely as you are Christians, my friends, 
you know that God was with your father on that fatal Monday 
morning when he fell back upon his pillow with a single gasp 
and was dead. You know that that did not happen without the 
will and consent of your and his heavenly Father. You know that 
God is with your mother at home, and that not a hair shall fall 
from her beloved head without the will of your Father in heaven. 
You know that God is with you now, that he will go with you to 
the grave which is awaiting the remains of your lamented father, 
that he will support you and give you strength to perform this 
sad duty, not as such who mourn without hope, but as firm believ- 
ers in the divine promise of a glorious resurrection. You know 
that if you let him, he will turn this very affliction into a blessing 
by drawing you more closely to himself and his holy Word. He 



g FUNERAL SERMONS 

will strengthen your faith and give you courage, patience and 
hope to bear this trial and every burden that may yet be laid upon 
your shoulders. As gold is purified in the fire, so will he use these 
sorrows and afflictions to remove from your hearts the natural 
love for the things of this world and to move you to set your 
affections upon the things that are eternal. ''For our light afflic- 
tion, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more ex- 
ceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the 
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for 
the things which are seen are temporal ; but the things which are 
not seen are eternal" (II Cor. 4: 17, 18). Have you ever read that 
sweet, comforting promise: ''All things work together for good 
to them that love God" (Rom. 8 : 28) ? It means that God watches 
over his children and will turn their losses into glorious gains, 
their weeping into jubilant songs, their fears into shouts of tri- 
umph. This is the sweet comfort of every mourning Christian. 
He is assured of the love and protection of his God. He knows 
that God is for him, and if God be for us, who can be against us ? 
3. This comfort is sure and reliable. The Christian's belief 
that God is for him, and that nothing, therefore, can harm him, is 
not a dream, a delusion. It is a trust, a hope that is built on good, 
solid ground. It is based on the rock of God's Word. That is a 
good foundation. "The Word of the Lord is right and all his 
works are done in truth" (Ps. 33 : 4). Believe what the Scriptures 
say and your faith will stand. And what do the Scriptures say to 
Christian mourners? Listen! "What shall we then say to these 
things ? If God be for us, who can be against us ? He that spared 
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not 
with him also freely give us all things?" That is Scripture. That 
is God's Word. And what does it say? It says that with Christ, 
that is, to those who have Christ by faith, to us Christians, God 
will give all things freely. Mark that word "freely." It means 
without cost, impartially, abundantly, in good season. And mark 



THE COMFORT OF CHRISTIAN MOURNERS 9 

the expression ''all things." It includes the best, the most need- 
ful, the most precious, bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal 
blessings. God will ''freely give us all things. " What a promise ! 
What a rock to base our trust on! Surely, God is for us, and you 
may well commit your present sorrow to him and patiently, trust- 
ingly wait for his deliverance. 

But we have another reason for believing that God is for us. 
"He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all." 
It is God's Son who makes our faith good. He is our Savior, whom 
God delivered up for us all, that by his innocent suffering and 
death he might purchase for us the forgiveness of sins. "It is 
Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at 
the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" 
(Rom. 8: 34). For Christ's sake God is for us. For Christ's sake 
he forgives all our iniquities, heals all our diseases, redeems our 
life from destruction and crowns us with lovingkindness and 
tender mercies. Oh, if we only have Christ, if we only cling to 
him with believing hearts, God is for us and will freely give us all 
things. Put your trust in him, dear friends, and you will not be 
disappointed, for your faith will be grounded on a rock. 

But Christ is also an earnest, a pledge of God's good and 
gracious will. How can we doubt that he who spared not his own 
Son, but delivered him up for us all, should not with him also 
freely give us all things? What are all the other things that we 
may need in time and in eternity when compared to that greatest 
gift of divine love, God's own beloved son? Can you not trust in 
the good will, the love and grace of him who sacrificed his own 
dear child to save your soul? Oh, how can we yet doubt that he 
who gave us his Son for a Savior is our Friend and everlasting 
Protector? It will not be near as hard for God to raise up your 
father again, to restore your mother to health and to keep you 
from harm as it was to give up his dear Son to be hung upon the 
accursed tree. 



iQ FtTNEBAL SERMONS 

Go then in peace, dear Friends, and perform the last sad rites 
for your dead. Commit his body to the ground and then go 
bravely forward to face whatever the future may have in store for 
you. God is for you: who can be against you? With him for a 
Friend, what need we fear? 

'*I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless: 
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. 
Where is death's sting! where, grave, thy victory? 
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me. ' ' 

Amen. 



I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE 
By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

"Jesus said unto her, I am tlie resurrection and tlie life: he that 
helieveth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever 
liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" — John 
11: 25, 26. 

Occasion: For a brother, the last but one — she a sister and con- 
stant companion — of a singularly refined and devout family. 
Brother and sister had been close and congenial 
companions for many years 

''I am the resurrection and the life" — one of the most won- 
derful utterances the world has heard! These are words of 
overwhelming grandeur and majesty — words ''that have pealed 
through the ages." Other sentences, striking and impressive, 
have fallen from the same lips, proclaiming the mighty prophet 
who spake as never man before or since has spoken. We are 
overawed by such declarations as these: ''I am the light of the 
world : he that f olloweth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall 
have the light of life" (John 8: 12). ''I am the door: by me if 
any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10: 9). ''I am the 
way, the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but 
by me" (John 14: 6). ''I am the vine, ye are the branches. He 
that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much 
fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15: 5). All 
these sublime utterances are made without a trace of assumption 
or hauteur : they come with perfect naturalness from the lips of 
Jesus Christ. 

There was, in the little town of Bethany, a small family circle 
of brother and two sisters: Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Jesus 

11 



12 FUNERALSERMONS 

loved this family and found comfort in their midst. He seems 
to have visited often at their home. Now Lazarus felt sick and 
died. When Jesus, to whom the sisters had sent word of their 
brother's illness, came to Bethany, Lazarus had been in the grave 
four days. Martha, on learning that Jesus was coming, went out 
to meet him. ''Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had 
not died," she said to Jesus. ''Thy brother shall rise again," 
Jesus said to her. Martha replied: "I know that he shall rise 
again in the resurrection at the last day." Then said Jesus the 
words that will never be forgotten ; the centuries cannot obscure 
them ; the tumults of the nations cannot silence them : 

"I am the Resurrection and the Life" 

Words sublime! What do they tell us about Jesus Christ? 
They tell us that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. 
Lazarus was dead. Martha had heard, "Thy brother shall live 
again." Doubtless well instructed in the teachings of the Old 
Testament, she had assented to what seemed to her to be in Jesus' 
mind. "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at 
the last day." "I am the resurrection," came the startling and 
withal thrilling words from Jesus' lips. Martha was thinking of 
the future. Christ was speaking of the present. 

"The resurrection." We are witnesses daily of death and its 
consequences — the burial and the decay of the body. Myriads of 
graves are around us. The tombstones stand mute witnesses of 
death — sentinels over the dead. But Jesus said: "Thy brother 
shall rise again." He declared: "I am the resurrrection. " Ere 
long his body was to be shaken by the tremors of death. His body 
would be prepared for burial, and would be laid in the tomb. 
He knew what was to befall him, and notwithstanding pro- 
claimed : "I am the resurrection." He who had power to lay down 
his life, also had power to take it again. "The third day he shall 



I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE 13 

By his own power would he come out of the tomb 
on the glad Easter morn. And as he would come forth from the 
tomb, so had he the power to bring others out of the tomb. Death 
and decay must yield before his matchless power. And at any 
time he might decree. At this moment, if necessary for the glory 
of God: ''I am the resurrrection. " 

''The life." blessed messenger! He came to heal a sick 
world. He came to lighten a dark world. He came to quicken a 
dead world. He came to save a lost world. He himself was, and 
is, life. Life in its absolute sense, life apart from us and from the 
world, life independent of parent and cause, of food and drink. 
Life in its most perfect physical expression, life in its highest 
intellectual experience, life in its noblest, yea, infinite spiritual 
being. As he had life in himself, so he could and did give life to 
others. He came that men might have life, and that they might 
have it more abundantly. He declared himself able to bestow that 
life at any time — now, this moment, if need be. "I am the life." 

On this bright, beautiful spring day, and in this saddened 
home, from which has been taken the last but one, Jesus is saying 
as certainly as he said to Martha: ''I am the resurrection and the 
life." Today, as then, he is thinking of the brother who has been 
called away. Today, as then, he is speaking to a sister: "I am 
— the resurrection — and the life." 

Comforting words! They were not uttered for the mere per- 
sonal satisfaction of the speaker. They were not a piece of boast- 
ing. They were meant to do good, to convey peace and comfort. 
''He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Mar- 
tha was to be helped and comforted. She was in sore distress 
over her brother Lazarus' decease. Christ, at this juncture, gave 
assurance that whosoever believeth in him, though he had died, 
should live, yes, should live forever — in the enjoyment of the 
only life worth naming, life in everlasting fellowship with God. 



14 FUNERAL SERMONS 

The condition of enjoying such a life was named. ''He that 
believeth in me." Jesus was demanding much. He wanted men's 
confidence. It wasn't confidence in his ability to engage in busi- 
ness honorably and profitably ; it wasn 't confidence in his power 
to depose the contemporaneous kings and emperors and set him- 
self up in their stead. He asked for confidence in himself — abso- 
lute, complete surrender of the heart to himself. He had come to 
give men light and life. He had appeared for the purpose of sav- 
ing men from darkness and death. It was his aim to save men 
from their sins. Men were to believe in and acknowledge him as 
Savior. They were invited to have faith in him, to entrust the 
matter of their salvation into his hands. Men were not to trust 
in themselves for their salvation; they were not to rely on nor 
boast of their own works; attendance upon the synagogue serv- 
ices and membership in some synagogue congregation were not 
to be offered in satisfaction of sin. Jesus Christ, who was and is 
light and life and truth, came to offer himself a sacrifice for the 
sins of the world. He was and is the Son of God. Without blas- 
phemy and without the slightest presumption he could claim to be 
the resurrection and the life. And he made most precious prom- 
ises to men — on condition that they believe. 

The promises? Life, life forever, life with him who was the 
perfect, transcendent, absolute life. The grave is not our goal. 
"We were not made for death. God meant that we should live, live 
forever. A most convincing argument is offered in the sequel of 
our text. ''I go," Jesus had said to his disciples, ''that I may 
awake him out of sleep" (verse 11). "Thy brother shall rise 
again" was the promise to Martha (verse 23). How literally that 
promise was fulfilled! "Where have ye laid him?" "Come and 
see." "He hath been dead four days." "Said I not unto thee, 
that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of 
God?" "They took away the stone." "Jesus lifted up his eyes," 
and had communion with his Father. And then — he cried with a 



I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE I5 

loud voice, ''Lazarus, come forth." "And he that was dead came 
forth." Oh, what comfort! He that was dead is alive again. He 
is restored to his sisters. Precious promise — though he were 
dead, yet shall he live — shall never die. And all because Christ 
spake truly: "I am the resurrection and the life." 

Dear sister, you and your brother were congenial companions. 
From childhood on you had enjoyed each other's company. You 
both delighted in intellectual pursuits, you both loved art and 
music. You were one in your spiritual aspirations, attending 
the same Sunday-school, worshiping together in the same church, 
communing together at the same altar. Ideal and happy was 
your life in the home which you both loved and enjoyed so 
much. And now your dear brother has gone. No one but 
yourself can fully realize what that means. But listen! The 
promises! "Thy brother shall rise again." "He that believeth — 
shall live — shall never die." It might be — it certainly could be — 
at this very moment. But we have no assurance that this will 
come to pass either today or tomorrow : but it will be some day, 
some sweet day, some rarely fair day, bye and bye. But again : it 
is today, in some sense. Jesus lives. He was dead, but, behold, he 
is alive forevermore. In him your brother lives and moves and 
has his being at this hour. In this same Jesus you have your being, 
your all-in-all. Through the agency of Jesus, through his blessed per- 
son, you then have fellowship with the brother whom you no 
longer have with you in the flesh. 

However, the great comfort to you is not in the companionship 
and fellowship you enjoyed and still enjoy with your brother, but 
in the communion you have with Christ through faith — "he that 
believeth in me." Because you believe, you too shall live, shall 
live forever, in joy and glory. 

"Believest thou this?" I do not ask because I have any doubt 
as to the answer. I ask to draw out your faith, to bring forth your 
confession. Martha answered clearly and firmly: "Yea, Lord: I 



IQ rUNERALSERMONS 

believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should 
come into the world." I am assured that this is your confession. 
And I am convinced that your bereavement will bring more 
definitely, more emphatically before your mind, this question so 
supremely important. At the same time you will weigh carefully 
and prayerfully the answer here given; its terms will become 
clearer and more meaningful. You will find much in this answer 
from Martha 's lips to engage your thought. And as you meditate, 
your soul will grow and expand, yours will be a richer faith, a 
more abundant experience. Eemember, too, that there are other 
brothers and sisters, not so near, indeed, after the flesh, as was he 
whom you mourn, but to whom, nevertheless, you will be called 
to minister, and in whose presence your confession of the Christ 
will have deep meaning and great influence. 

Friends, you have heard the sublime words uttered by your 
Savior: ''I am the resurrection and the life." "What think ye of 
Christ? What think ye of his teaching? Do you believe all this? 
Happy are ye, indeed, if your souls are at rest today in Jesus 
Christ. Your friend and neighbor needs you now. Your expres- 
sions of sympathy, your help in many ways, will be a comfort to 
her. But she has already the best comfort of all — the Prince of 
Life, the Savior. You will do well by yourselves, probably it will 
be the greatest Godsend to her, if you will let her testify to you 
what God has done for her soul, how in a great trial of affliction 
God asserted himself very emphatically, yet tenderly, in her life, 
as the resurrection and the life, and gave her promises abundant 
and exceeding rich and comforting — promises concerning her 
brother, concerning herself, promises for today and for the great 
hereafter. 

Brother, farewell ! We have lived many years together in our 
earthly father's house. Here are the rooms where the loved ones 
used to gather. I see the trees under whose shade we sa^ Here 
are the well-remembered books, and here some poem we loved to 



I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE 17 

read. And here — the Book of books. Let me reverently, tenderly 
touch it! We went together to the Heavenly Father's house. 
There we sang the songs of Zion, there we heard the Word — so 
rich in truth and blessing, there we communed with him who died 
for us — and who rose again. Today thou art in thy Father's house 
above. I am still on earth. Some day I will meet thee there. 
Together shall we and our loved ones be, and forever with the 
Lord. Brother, I will remember that Jesus is the Resurrection 
and the Life. In him shall be our trysting place, and in him shall 
both our lives be completed, for — is he not the Resurrection and 
the Life? And shall not he that believeth in him rise again, and 
live, and never die? Do I believe this? With all my heart I 
believe, Lord, that "thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which 
should come into the world." Amen. 



WHAT COMPORT DO THE SCRIPTURES GIVE US 
CONCERNING OUR DEAD? 

By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

"But I would not have you to "be ignorant, brethren, concerning them 
which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which 
sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the 
word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of 
the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself 
shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, 
and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then 
we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in 
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the 
Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." — ^I Thess. 4: 
13-18. 

Occasion: For a Theological Professor's Wife 

The Creator has given us affections and so it is natural to love 
each other. We are happy in the exercise of our affections. To be 
surrounded by congenial spirits, by wife and children, to love 
them and to see them love each other is one of the purest forms 
of human enjoyment. 

But who will describe our heartaches when these bonds of 
affection are violently sundered by death? Tears flow unbidden. 
They are our only natural relief. Whether men be believers or 
unbelievers, they feel this para; yet there is a vast difference in 
their mourning. St. Paul is not a stoic who, in stolid indiffer- 
ence, gives up his weeping. He does not seek to resti^ain us from 
weeping. He knows that we cannot refrain from it without doing 
violence to our nature. But he asks us not to mourn as those who 
have no hope. When the worldling stands by the bier he is com- 

18 



WHAT COMPORT DO THE SCRIPTURES GIVE? 19 

fortless and his mourning borders on despair; but when the 
Christian stands by the coffin and the grave he has hope and even 
amid the gathering darkness there is a rift in the clouds and a 
ray of light from a better world cheers him. He mourns with 
hope. 

The source of our comfort is the Bible. It was given that 
through its comforts we might have hope. In cases of affliction 
men comfort each other; but human comfort is vain. The only 
balm for the wounded heart is found in the Word. May God help 
us to apply it to your bleeding hearts ! 

What Comfort Do the Scriptures Give Us Concerning Our Dead? 

They teach : 

I. That they sleep in Jesus. Text, verses 13, 14. 

What a beautiful figure by which to represent death ! There is 
something dreadful about this king of terrors and we shrink 
away from his chilly touch and his icy embrace. The world has 
invented figures by which to represent this unwelcome guest, but 
after all there is a tinge of sadness and of incompleteness about 
the broken wheel, the broken pitcher, the sickle and the sheaf. 
These do not overcome the terrors of death. How much more 
pleasing is the figure of sleep. We do not dread it ; yea, we rather 
long for it. When we are wearied by the heat and burden of the 
day, we look forward longingly to that hour when we can recline 
on the couch and forget all our cares in sleep. 

The death of a believer alone is spoken of under this pleasing 
figure. Christ has taken away the sting of death and has dis- 
armed it. The bee robbed of its sting cannot hurt, the serpent 
robbed of its fang cannot bite. While the believer walks in the 
valley of the shadow of death it cannot harm him. Christ has 
overcome death for his people and turned it into sleep. 

Sleep brings rest and for this reason death is so called. It 
brings rest from all the cares of life. What a burden sin has 



20 FUNERALSERMONS 

brought upon us. Who will recount all the hardships that are 
included in God's curse upon the first transgression? What a 
daily battle for bread we must wage ! What wrestlings with the 
ills of life we must endure ! What heart-aches, what pains, what 
terrors we suffer! No language can express them. But death 
brings rest from them all. 

It brings rest from our spiritual warfare. As soldiers of the 
cross we are engaged in an ardent conflict. The kingdoms of 
light and of darkness are battling for the mastery. Earth is the 
battlefield. We are enrolled under the Captain of our salvation, 
and just because we are on his side we are molested. They who 
have been serious in this holy cause have experienced the ills of 
this warfare. But they end when death comes and we pass from 
strife to victory. 

Death brings sweet rest with Christ in heaven. To see him face 
to face, to carry the victor's palm, to be clothed in garments 
washed white in the blood of the Lamb, to walk on the golden 
streets of the New Jerusalem, to behold the eternal city whose 
light is God himself, to join with angelic choirs — this, this is the 
rest which those enjoy who sleep with Jesus. 

The departed was a follower of Christ in life and we believe 
that she is with him in death. Therefore we do not mourn as those 
who have no hope. 

The Scriptures tell us concerning our dead : 

II. That they will arise. Text, verses 14-16. 

The world laughs at the idea of a resurrection of the dead. 
"Death ends all," they say, ''or if it does not, we cannot know 
anything with certainty of the hereafter. ' ' They appeal to human 
reason and ask how the body that has been resolved into its 
original elements can again be animated. But they forget that he 
who once fashioned the body from the dust of the earth and 
breathed into it the breath of life, is yet almighty and that he can 
again quicken the dust. 



WHAT COMrORT DO THE SCRIPTURES GIVE? 21 

The Apostle does not suspend our faith in the air, but places it 
upon an immovable rock, viz., upon the resurrrection of Christ. 
Just as certainly as Jesus arose, so surely shall our dead come 
forth. Jesus Christ arose from the dead and as this text intimates 
by his own power. Even his enemies admitted that his grave was 
empty. He himself tells us: "I am the resurrection and the life." 
If he is the life essentially and in his divine person there dwells 
almighty power, then death could not hold him, neither will it be 
able to put his promise to shame: "I live and ye shall live also." 
By virtue of the resurrection of Christ the restoration of our dead 
becomes a possibility. He became ''the first fruits of them that 
slept." But one is first only in reference to others. If Jesus was 
the "first fruits" then necessarily others must follow. 

Jesus who is enthroned at the right hand of God will descend 
with the voice of an archangel and the shout of trumpets. It will 
be the shout of victory and of triumph. The last enemy will hear 
and will release his grasp upon the dead and they will arise. The 
sleeping army will gather for its final review before the throne 
of God. 

What comfort there is in this revelation of the Word ! We 
love the forms of our dead. We love their clay. In this body we 
have learned to know them ; in it we have conversed with them ; 
by it we have recognized them. In this body we have loved and 
embraced them and have had sweet communion and fellowship 
with them and in this body glorified we are once more to possess 
them. Let those who choose stand by the grave and see it open its 
maw to receive their dead and let them, if they can, derive com- 
fort from the thought that the earthly tabernacle will now be 
dissolved and that they shall no more look upon the faces and 
forms once so dear to them; but to us the thought is utterly 
heartless and comfortless and we already anticipate that joyful 
hour in which all that are in their graves shall come forth and we 
shall ever possess our dead. This is the only thought that can 



22 FUNERAL SERMONS 

satisfy our affections and stanch our bleeding wounds. 

"We believe that the departed will arise from the dead. We 
mourn, but not as those who have no hope. 

The Bible tells us concerning our dead ; 

III. That they will be reunited with us eternally. Text, 
verse 17. 

In this world we can look for nothing else but the breaking 
up of our families. Sin is here, consequently death. It will claim 
ours as its prey. And if it be not that, our children will mature, 
they will leave us and especially in this restless land of ours, they 
will settle in distant parts. The family circle is broken and, fight 
against it as we will, we are helpless. 

But we are comforted that '*so shall we ever be with the 
Lord." Death and its painful separation will be unknown and 
the reunion of our families will be eternal. 

Should God have planted in our hearts these affections for 
each other, especially for our own blood and will he mock us by 
leaving them unsatisfied? Should he who has placed this longing 
in us for our kin, even after they are removed from time, fail to 
regard his own work? Nay! "There shall be no more death." 
This is his promise. He is truthful. There shall be no more 
separation, but we shall ever be with them. 

Rest, Resurrrection and Reunion — these are the comforts of 
the Scriptures concerning our dead. Discard the cold comforts of 
reason and ' ' comfort one another with these words. ' ' 

May God heal your wounds ! Amen. 



THE ABIDING LOVE OP GOD AS THE TRUE SOURCE OP 
COMFORT IN OUR SORROWS 

By Rev. J. H. Schneider 

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from 
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." — Rom. 8: 38, 39. 

Occasion: For a Middle-aged Christian 

All that this earth affords is changeable. The hardest granite 
and the toughest steel waste away under the tooth of time. Cities 
and nations spring up and disappear, yes, earth itself is change- 
able. How about mankind? Are men stable? By no means. Their 
appearance, their condition, their disposition, their station are all 
subject to constant changes. The fathers and mothers of our day 
were the playful children of yesterday. The rich people of the 
present were, in many instances, the poor people of the past. The 
friends of our youth are, sometimes, the enemies of riper years. 
Those carried on the shoulders of fame a few years ago today 
occupy a forgotten grave. 

Yes, all on earth is changeable. Not even the deepest and 
purest love of a wife and mother is lasting. It is true, that as long 
as her life's blood courses through her heart, love remains un- 
changed ; but the day comes in which the eyes are closed and the 
heart stands still, and then also a wife's and mother's love has 
ceased. 

In the midst of all this change, is there nothing at all which is 
firm — nothing at all which we can hold? 

23 



24 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Thanks be to God, there is something immovable, something 
unchangeable. It is the love of our God. 

How well it would be if we would at all times, but especially 
in times of sorrow, think of the changeless love of God. 

You, dear family, have been sorely afflicted. A great change 
has taken place in your home. The eye which looked for your 
weal, the hands which labored for your good, the lips which 
prayed for your welfare, the heart in which next to God you had 
the warmest place — they are all still and cold and dead. You 
stand sorely in need of comfort. Is such comfort to be found? Is 
there any ground to which you can anchor any hope ? 

Yes, there is comfort for you also. Permit me to direct your 
attention to 

The Abiding Love of God as the True Source of Comfort in 

Our Sorrows 

I. Is the love of God really abiding? 

II. How can the abiding love of God be a source of comfort to 
us in our sorrows? 

I. Is the love of God really abiding? It Certainly is abiding, 
as we must admit if we remember what it can withstand and on 
what it is based. 

Paul in our text recounts a list of things which are liable to 
destroy love, but of all of them the apostle declares: "I am 
persuaded, that they cannot separate us from the love of God." 

Foremost among the things enumerated stand death and life. 

Death indeed severs the most intimate relations and the 
firmest bonds. Even body and soul leave each other at death's 
cold touch and the body crumbles into dust and ashes under his 
influence. But mark well, death cannot separate us from our love 
of God. There may be a death-struggle in a fine home which is so 
severe and so prolonged that even the members of the family can 



ABIDING LOVE OF GOD THE TRUE SOURCE 25 

hardly witness it. Again, death may come upon one in a strange 
and far country, where there is no kin or friend to cool the 
parched lips or smooth the heated pillow. Up in the garret, where 
poverty lives, death may put in his appearance. Yet in all of 
these places and under all conditions and surroundings the love 
of God remains. Everyone can truthfully say with David: ''Yea, 
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they 
comfort me" (Ps. 23: 4). 

Death can hold neither the soul nor the body, though it does 
separate them for a time. Death is followed by the resurrection 
and by eternal life. In the very valley of death, and while look- 
ing up to God, David, and with him everyone who knows the love 
of God, can confidently say: ''Thou preparest a table before me 
in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil ; 
my cup runneth over" (Ps. 23: 5). 

Thus death cannot separate us from the love of God. 

Life also cannot separate us from the love of God. The life of 
this one or that one may yet last many years, but God does not 
grow weary of loving. He is not like fickle men who today are 
filled with an ardent love for a person, and whose love cannot live 
long. If the object of their love loses its charms, it ceases to be 
loved. Many a wife and husband, many a father and mother have 
lived longer than the love which was at one time bestowed on 
them. The length or the character of their life separated them 
from the love of their kin and friends. Life does not, however, 
separate from the love of God. Think of the patriarchs. They 
lived long and they were not without faults, but their length of 
days did not separate them from the love of God. Every one can 
in truth say in regard to God : ' ' Surely goodness and mercy shall 
follow me all the days of my life" (Ps. 23 : 6). 

Next are mentioned angels and principalities. Although an 
angel became a devil, and although he succeeded in misleading 



26 FUNERAL SEBMONS 

man into disobedience, he did not succeed in separating us from 
the love of God. ''For God so loved the world, that he gave his 
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). 

Think of Peter and Paul. The one is sifted by Satan and the 
other is buffeted by Satan's angel, but neither of them were in 
this way separated from the love of God. 

In the third place, the apostle mentions things present and 
things to come. At present we are passing through great tribula- 
tions; we are undergoing great trials; we are sustaining great 
losses. Must these things not cause us to fall? No! for these 
things are not at all an indication that the love of God has turned 
away from us. Think of Job and of his losses and afflictions. His 
losses and afflictions resulted in his real welfare. But what the 
Lord does in the present that will he do also in the future. As 
truly as he gives evidences of his love today, even though with 
those who mourn, so truly will his love continue towards everyone 
of us also in the days to come. Even eternity cannot bring forth 
anything which can separate us from the lov^of God. 

Finally, St. Paul thinks of height and de*pth. David and 
Solomon rose to the throne, while Joseph, Peter, John, Paul went 
down into the prison, but the love of God was not thereby 
affected. It continued to exist and to show itself. 

Surely the love of God can endure much. No creature shall be 
able to separate us from the love of God. 

Remember also upon what the love of God is based. 

There is nothing in us which would kindle or sustain God's 
love to us. Look at that which we are by nature and at that which 
we can do. By nature we are the children of wrath. "We are 
conceived and born in sin. Out of this bad condition of our hearts 
come forth evil thoughts, words and deeds. Even our best 
efforts, our righteousness, are as filthy rags before God. This, 
moreover, applies to all. There is none that doeth good and 



ABIDING LOVE OF GOD THE TEUE SOURCE 27 

sinneth not. ''If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 
and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). 

God, however, is holy. He hates sin. He cannot love it. There- 
fore we cannot think or say that God loves us on account of that 
which we are by nature or can do by our own strength and effort. 

St. Paul tells us that the love of God, which nothing can turn 
away from us, is the love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Christ Jesus is he of whom we say: ''I believe, that Jesus 
Christ, true God-begotten of the Father from eternity, and also 
true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord." 

God's own Son took upon himself the form of man. He was 
born of a woman. He was made our own Brother. Moreover, he 
took our place, becoming our substitute. It is he of whom we 
confess, that he ''has redeemed me, a lost and condemned 
creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and 
from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with his 
holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death." 
Jesus Christ has removed all that sin had put between us and the 
love of God. There was the law and its just but unsatisfied re- 
quirements. Jesus put himself under the law and fulfilled all of 
its demands ; he did this to redeem them that were under the law. 
There was the punishment deserved by our transgression. This 
punishment is death ; for the wages of sin is death. Jesus paid for 
this also; for he died for our guilt. He, as our substitute, was 
forsaken of God, because we had forsaken God. Thus was the 
wall of separation removed. 

"When we now belong to those of whom St. Paul says that no 
creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, we 
appear before God no more as we are by nature, but as we are 
in Christ Jesus. His merits are ours. His righteousness covers our 
sins. In him we are pleasing and acceptable to God. This is the 
case when we stand as did St. Paul, when he wrote to the congre- 
gation at Rome, and as that congregation at Rome stood, when 



28 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Paul addressed his epistle to them. Paul and the Roman congre- 
gation were full of faith, and were thus real children of God. 
The same conditions exist today. It is through faith that we are 
made partakers of the merits and righteousness of Christ. Paul 
states it thus: "We conclude that a man is justified by faith 
without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3: 28). 

God's love to us has, therefore, a good ground. God loves us 
in his own Son whose righteousness we have appropriated by 
faith. Should such a love not be abiding? When all else fails, 
God's love to us who have accepted Christ as our Redeemer will 
not fail. Keep this in mind, dear friends, in this time of sorrow. 
It will redound to your welfare. 

II. How can the abiding love of God be a source of comfort to 
us in our sorrows? 

In general it is admitted, that where we find real love, we may 
be sure of finding blessings in store for th^e who are the objects 
of such love. Think of a child and its mother. The Lord himself 
says : ' ^ Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not 
have compassion on the son of her womb" (Isa. 49: 15) ? If any 
hurt or harm threatens that child, the mother flies to its aid. Day 
and night that mother will plan and think and labor for the 
welfare of her little one. The child, moreover, knows this and 
will, therefore, in times of trouble, seek help and encouragement 
from its mother. It knows quite well that a mother whose love 
is so evident cannot fail to help in need, and to give that which 
must be of real good. 

Think of the prodigal, mentioned in the parable. He was in a 
far country. He had sought the pleasures of the world. He was a 
disappointed, forsaken man. What induced him in his wretched- 
ness to turn his thoughts and then his steps towards the home 
which he had so foolishly left? He knew of his father's love. 
This convinced him that he would receive nothing but good things 
at the hands of his father. His father's love was a guarantee to 



ABIDING LOVE OF GOD THE TRUE SOURCE 29 

the prodigal son that even for him there would be a kindly con- 
sideration on the part of the father, even though this would give 
him only a place among the servants. 

We may well say, that in general among men, where there is 
real love we may expect blessings. Should the case be different in 
regard to our God ? We have seen that his love is truly great and 
enduring. Can we, with this before us, for a moment think that 
this loving God will let evil befall us? Must we not with the 
apostle declare: ''We know that all things work together for 
good to them that love God" (Rom. 8: 28). Many things may, 
indeed, for the time being, be dark to us. We may not be able to 
say: "This is good for this and that good for that." In many 
things the Lord must say to us as he said to Peter of old : ' ' What 
I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter" 
(John 13: 7). As we increase in our understanding of spiritual 
things, as our faith grows, we shall learn to see the wisdom and 
the goodness of our loving Lord in some things which at first 
were utterly dark to us. But even though in this life we should 
never fully understand why God has sent this or that cross upon 
us, we are still sure of this, that he that spared not his own Son, 
but delivered him up for us, will with him give us all things. 
When once we stand before God's throne of glory, and look back 
on our experiences here on earth, we shall surely find that not 
only many things, but absolutely all things did work for our 
good. Of this we must be sure if we are sure of the abiding love 
of God towards us in Christ Jesus our Lord. This gives comfort. 

In the case before us we have reason to say: God loved the 
departed one and he also loves you, hence he cannot have done 
anything that is evil. 

How do we know that God loved the departed one? Was she 
not included among those whom Christ redeemed by his suffering 
and death? Was she not one of whom St. Paul says: "Ye are all 
the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus ; for as many of you 



30 FUNERAL SERMONS 

as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3: 
26, 27) ? In infancy already God made his covenant of grace with 
her in holy baptism. The faith then planted into her heart was 
nurtured by proper instructions, received from Christian parents 
and teachers. She was permitted to confess her faith before 
many witnesses at confirmation. All the days of her life she had 
access to the Word of God and to the sacrament of the altar. 
Through these means of grace she was instructed, admonished, 
corrected, comforted and directed heavenward. Are these not 
proofs of God's love for the departed one? 

But how about her sickness, her sufferings and her departure ? 
Are there any marks of love in these ? God who did her so much 
good gave her no evil in the end. Was God not with her in her 
sickness ? Did he not give her strength and patience and resigna- 
tion? Did he not keep her in faith even unto the end? Are these 
not marks of love and not marks of anger or of neglect? 

Go further now and ask yourselves: "Has God done evil to 
our departed one by taking her away from this life ? ' ' What did 
she lose? She has been removed from a world of sin and sorrow, 
a world of trials and temptations, a world of imperfections and 
disappointments. She has instead for Christ's sake gone to that 
place of which St. John writes: "Behold, the tabernacle of God 
is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his 
people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there 
shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall 
there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away" 
(Rev. 21 : 3, 4). She has joined the company of those of whom it is 
said: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from hence- 
forth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors ; 
and their works do follow them" (Rev. 14: 13). Of her, too, 
Jesus declares: "I am the resurrection, and the life; he that 
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11 : 



ABIDING LOVE OF GOD THE TEUE SOURCE 31 

25). "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves 
shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done 
good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, 
unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5: 28. 29). 

Her immortal soul has gone into the rest of God's children, 
and her body, after a rest ki the grave, will be raised and in its 
glorified condition will be reunited with the soul. Of this we can 
be sure because he who loved her in Christ Jesus our Lord has 
given us this assurance. Should this not comfort you? 

How do we know that God loves you? ^Yas it not God who 
gave you a truly Christian wife and mother? Is this not a great 
blessing? You know this better than I can tell you? You will 
appreciate what she was to you in the days to come, but every 
time you are led to think of her kindly Christian work and influ- 
ence in your home, do not forget that God gave her to you, and 
gave you with her a mark of his love. God has taken your wife 
and mother from you. Has he done you no act of love in this ? He 
has done so much assuredly. By taking her away he directs your 
attention more than ever to the truth that we have here no abid- 
ing city. He turns your minds to heavenly things. He tells you in 
a most forcible manner to seek the kingdom of God and his right- 
eousness. God wants j^ou to be where she is and he, therefore, 
took her before taking you through the valley of death into the 
mansions of heaven. By so doing he would lead you with all ear- 
nestness to seek him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Is 
this not a proof of God's love to you? 

You are today directed to God's "Word by God's servant. You 
are told where God's fountains of comfort flow. You are being 
pointed to the green pastures and the living waters of God's 
Word. If you go to these fountains today, and find comfort and 
consolation, will you not go there after today also ? Will you not 
more than ever before taste and see how good the Lord is? I hope 
you will do this. But if you will make the Word of God hence- 



32 FUNERAL SERMONS 

forth your daily study, it will bring you unspeakable blessings. 
It will increase and preserve your faith. It will give you hope. It 
will turn you from the allurements of the world to the one thing 
needful, to Christ and his righteousness. Is this not good? Is it 
not a mark of God's love? With this before you, can you not find 
comfort in the abiding love of God? Can you not, though it be 
with streaming eyes, say: ''Nothing, I am certain, can turn God's 
love away from me, and now I pray God, that this affliction may 
not turn my love away from him, but may lead me to cling to him 
with childlike confidence." 

Cling, then, dear friends, to our ever loving God. Pour out 
your hearts before him. Seek his Word. He loves you and he will 
heal your hearts for Jesus' sake. Amen. 



GOD'S STANDARD OF GREATNESS 
By Rev. C. B. Gohdes 

**As unknown, and yet well-known; as dying, and, "behold, we live; as 
chastened, and not killed." — ^11 Cor. 6: 9. 

Occasion: Funeral Sermon, Preached for a Godly Woman in 
Humble Circumstances 

A wife, a mother dead ! Orphaned children, a lonely husband, 
a home from which its guardian angel has departed ! Nor is it the 
bereaved family only which feels the loss. In the congregation 
none was more faithful than she. We, pastor and flock, share the 
bereavement. Aside from the family and the congregation, how- 
ever, barely any note is taken of the loss of our sister, appalling 
though it be to her nearest of kin, painful though it be to the 
congregational family. The daily paper accords her no para- 
graph ; society drafts no resolutions of condolence. Unconcerned, 
the stream of human life flows on, regardless of human hearts 
that grieve and break in obscurity. 

The utter absence of interest in the life, the death, the burial 
of our beloved sister is a link of union between her and Jesus. No 
life so beneficent as Christ's, no death so momentous — yet no 
worldly biographer chronicled the loving deeds of that divine 
life, and inconsiderable was the interest displayed by the con- 
temporary world in a death at the sight of which the sun dipped 
into eclipse. 

The world's standard of greatness is different from God's. The 
world is infatuated by human wisdom, by power, by wealth, in 
short by that which is extraordinary. But God 's queens may serve 
in kitchens, the sceptre of his royalty often rests in the calloused 



34 FUNERAL SERMONS 

hands of labor, and obscurity is not seldom the halldom of his 
saints. 

'* As unknown, and yet well known. " These words, taken from 
what might be termed Paul's autobiography, I have chosen to 
describe the life of our sister, one of God's obscure saints. As a 
spray from God's garden of flowers I place them upon her coffin, 
that the tender greeting of their fragrance may, in a measure, 
relieve the grief of our hearts. 

We speak of the life to coning in distinction from the present 
life. This distinction is in a measure justified by the contrast 
between the conditions of life on earth and those of the life in 
heaven. Here we weep — no wails shall sound among the trees of 
life! Here we toil, and often back and hands and heart are 
weary from the severity and the unfruitfulness of our toil — no 
toil in heaven! Here the flight of the soul is hindered by a pon- 
derous body — there progress has no barriers, and the assertion of 
thought and will are its methods. Here we sow in tears — there 
we reap in joy. Here we trust, though our vision is veiled — there 
the brightness of God's smile shall irradiate our faces. But, 
though the difference between earth and heaven be the difference 
between the tear and the sparkling diamond, there is no essential 
difference between the life now lived by us and the life we shall 
live after passing the portals of death. Death is no sacrament to 
give the soul fitness for God's presence. The Christian life on 
earth is the germ of the life which shall flower and fruit in 
heaven. We shall be spiritually and morally in heaven what we 
are becoming spiritually and morally on earth. 

Extraordinary deeds and striking performances, therefore, are 
not essential to the Christian life, unless called forth by extraor- 
dinary opportunities. The Christian life may be lived in the 
obscurest sphere by avoiding sin, by seeking after righteousness, 
by wrestling with wrong as our only real foe. How great was the 
life of our sister when considered from this standpoint ! Her trust 



GOD'S STANDARD OF GREATNESS 35 

was altogether placed in the grace of God and Christ's blood- 
bought merits. She was a saint of God who brightened her lowly 
sphere with a lustre caught from the Sun of Righteousness. Her 
life left no stamp upon ''society," but her prayers moved the 
hand of omnipotence. She was content with the bread of hard, 
ill-paid labor, rejoicing in the grace which enabled her to feed 
upon the bread of life. She never gave anyone occasion for stum- 
bling ; but her unobtrusive godliness acted upon her surroundings 
with the force of a moral tonic. She was almost unknown beyond the 
divinely appointed sphere of home and church; but, clad in the 
garment of Jesus' righteousness, unpolluted by the fashions of the 
world, she was heralded upon her advent in heaven by God's 
angels, and from the position of the obscure wife of a working- 
man she has advanced to the sceptred estate of one of God's 
queens. Unknown to earth, she is well known in heaven. 

I express this hope on the strength of the noble service where- 
by she has demonstrated her trust in Christ. Do not be aston- 
ished! I do not say "conspicuous" service. I say ''noble" serv- 
ice, for a life of noble service hers has been. She gave expression 
to the fact that she was one of God's immortals by the patient, 
prayerful, conscientious performance of the lowly duties of her 
calling on earth. Let us not think that those who take a direct 
part in evangelizing the world are the only powerful witnesses 
for Christ. Witness for Christ is often borne with silent lip by the 
consecration of life's "lowly weal and dole." Is it not highly 
significant and inspiring that Christ, in the state of humiliation, 
disdained a conspicuous, lucrative position? The carpenter's 
lathe and axe were his tools of labor, were his expression of the 
life to be lived by God's immortals in its earthly relation. The 
showy life, the conspicuous deed, may result in fame for us, but it 
may leave heaven unstirred. Of old, men, with utterly false 
conceptions of holiness, would spend their lives in seclusion from 
their fellows and in disdain of ordinary labor. To be near to 



36 FUNERAL SERMONS 

heaven they would dwell upon high pillars; to be remote from 
the world they would immure themselves behind convent walls; 
to exhibit contempt for wealth they would beg. But did they not 
become victims of spiritual pride by failing to heed the lessons 
taught by the sainthood of Jesus, who served his parents in one of 
the lowliest of callings? 

"Do today tht^nearest duty! 

Our work counts for more than words. 
Three things are great: 
Conscience and will — and courage 
To fulfil the duties these create.^' 

If zealous, patient, prayerful performance of the lowly duties 
of every-day life demonstrates greatness in God's sight, we should 
revere the signs of toil upon the silent brow and hand as the 
hallmark of truest royalty. How unremitting her work in spite of 
the feebleness of her body! How sweet, how uncomplaining her 
work despite the meagerness of earthly reward! Her work was 
never done, yet her well-thumbed Bible and prayer-book attest 
that she had time to pray. She has left no jewels to her daughter, 
no lands and merchandise to her sons, no dowry of earthly treas- 
ure to her husband. What she has left is the noble example of a 
life hidden with Christ in God. The uplift you, husband, re- 
ceived, when you would come from your daily task, toil-worn, 
and often dispirited, — from that godly, consecrated heart, now 
silent, you received it. The Christian faith cherished by you, 
children, the priceless treasures of worship and Christian joy you 
possess, largely to your mother you owe them under God. Re- 
nown and greatness before the world are often purchased with 
inattention to soul-culture, to Christian principle and morality, to 
the requirements of the inner life. Spiritual influence and power 
however, are often exerted in inverse proportion to earthly great- 
ness and renown. These hands, now folded in death, have left a 
blessing foreign to many a jeweled hand — a home blessed by 



GOD'S STANDARD OF GREATNESS 37 

Christ. Our Christian sister's life was a never-ending round of 
sacrifice, patiently, prayerfully offered. And it is precisely such 
constant, uncomplaining sacrifice of love which produces that 
greatness which is the joy of God and the marvel of heaven. 

** Measure thy life by loss and not by gain; 

Not by the wine drunk, but the wine poured forth: 
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice, 
And whoso suffers most has most to give." 

''As dying and behold, we live." So Paul characterizes from 
another standpoint the life hidden with Christ in God. Those of 
us who were privileged to witness the last sickness of our sainted 
sister were edified, not to say amazed, by the courage, the heroism, 
with which our sister met and mastered the king of terrors. 
Dying, to her, was an extraordinary test of faith. Humanly 
speaking, she cannot be replaced. You, husband, felt you needed 
her, to whose sweet, unintermittent devotion you owed not only 
much earthly comfort, but, under God, your main moral support, 
upon the path of duty. You, children, felt you needed her in the 
thousand thousand offices of love to which only the loving mother 
hand is equal. All this she, too, realized; and when she prayed 
for recovery it was not because life harbored much promise and 
sweetness aside from your affection, but because she felt that 
you needed the support of a mother's hand, a mother's love, a 
mother's presence. But did she shrink in dismay from the 
revelation that, after all, death would be the issue of her sickness, 
although it struck terror to your hearts? On the contrary, in 
resignation, in complete readiness, with joy, she faced death, 
consigning both her soul and her orphaned home to her Savior. 

Why was her death not a defeat, but a rapture into life? 
Because her life had been a continuous death to flesh and world. 
Dying, she lived! In this populous city thousands were situated 
as she. Existence is possible to them only upon the basis of 
unceasing toil, rigid economy, endless sacrifice of comfort. Such 



38 FUNERAL SERMONS 

life will produce discontent and rebellion against God's benign 
government, save upon the basis of close and constant communion 
with God. Thousands lack the latter, and, in consequence, the 
rich, spiritual and moral opportunities of a life meager in earthly 
resources are killed by fretfulness, envy, discontent, and ingrati- 
tude for the wealth of grace in Jesus Christ, which is an abundant 
compensation for every ill. Because the world has not vouch- 
safed them her treasure trove of temporal abundance many refuse 
to avail themselves of the eternal plenty God intends as compen- 
sation. Not so our sister in Christ. Nerved by grace, enriched by 
the gifts of the Spirit; joy, peace, prayer, love, self-denial, she 
died to self and world. The very restrictions of her situation in 
life which would have seemed elements of death to others, were 
to her opportunities to rise to largest liberty in Christ. And so 
it came about that the pathetic exterior of toil and dearth con- 
cealed and protected a vast wealth of spiritual life. 

Oh! that we might learn the lesson! Life does not mean the 
abundance of the things one possesses — wealth, pleasure, position, 
opportunity for self-gratification. It means faith, love, service, 
hope, submission to God. True life does not come with its tide of 
blessings in answer to earthly desire. But mortify the flesh, cru- 
cify unlawful desire on the cross of repentance, and, dying to 
the lower self, you find the higher self quickened and fruitful 
and attended by a host of joys too deep for utterance! Seek life 
in what the world calls life — the enlargement and gratification of 
the lower self, and you will meet death as a slave, with a trem- 
bling and fear, and regrets fierce and unavailing will surge 
through the heart ! But seek life in what God calls life, in fellow- 
ship with him, in self-sacrifice, in free submission to his will; 
enlarge and foster your inner life by crucifying everything that 
retards and threatens its development, and you shall be able to 
meet and master the old foe, because you have died daily to sin, 
which is the sting of death and its essence. Death shall come to 



GOD'S STANDARD OF GREATNESS 39 

the Christian as a deliverer and the harbinger of a perfect life. 
He is great in God's sight who has died to what makes death 
terrible, and therefore, can bid the destroyer welcome. "As 
dying, and, behold, we live." 

''As chastened and not killed." This clause of my text I 
apply to you, my mourning friends. The grief which God has 
sent you is designed as a means to spiritual strength and great- 
ness. On the surface it would appear that death has robbed you 
of your chief treasure in life : of the loving wife, the faithful, 
zealous mother with the inspiration of her presence and the caress 
of her patient, tender hand. But I know you will not go home 
from her last resting-place embittered and defiant because what 
joy you had in life has been taken. No ! joy is not dead. One of 
the chief sources is still flowing strong and clear, namely, duty. 
Your wife in heaven, husband, your Savior, my Christian 
brother, both look to you to continue single-handed the work 
upon the souls of your children. These Christian hearts are the 
treasure your godly wife has left you, to care for them, to keep 
them untarnished from the world, and, in the face of perpetual 
temptation, to guard them against the destroyer. You, children, 
are the only joy remaining to your father on earth, save the 
spiritual joys which his Christian faith provides. Support by 
double love and devotion the hand which, so far, has had the 
main earthly staff and stay in the love of your sainted mother! 
Let the mother's faith survive the mother's presence; let the 
angel of unselfish love, whom she cherished as the permanent 
guest of her home, continue his noble ministration, and you will 
emerge from the gloom of your bereavement, not killed by de- 
spair, but merely chastened, and stronger than ever to do the will 
of God, whether by the performance of duty or by suffering. And 
deep in your hearts shall shine the light of that deathless hope 
that the beloved is not lost but translated to the higher life for 
which your present chastening is a preparation. 



40 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Glorious Gospel! It has a cheering message even concerning 
life *s weariness and the clutch of its terrors. It does not deny or 
conceal the travails ^gf. life nor the bitterness of death and of 
parting, but it transngures them into prophecies and sources of 
the sweet rest that is to be. 

"My feet are weary and my hands are tired, 
My soul oppressed; 
And I desire what I have oft desired — 
Rest, only rest. 

" 'Tis hard to toil when toil is almost vain 
In barren ways; 
'Tis hard to sow and never gather grain 
In harvest days. 

'^The burden of my days is hard to bear, 
But God knows best; 
And I have prayed, but vain has been my prayer, 
For rest, sweet rest. 

" 'Tis hard to plant in spring and never reap 
The autumn yield; 
'Tis hard to till, when His tilled to weep 
O'er fruitless field. 

"And so I cry a weak and human cry. 
So heart-oppressed; 
And so I sigh a weak and human sigh 
For rest — for rest. 

"My way has wound around the desert years, 
And cares infest 
My path, and thro' the flowing of hot tears 
I pine for rest. 

"And I am restless still — 'twill soon be o'er; 
Far down the west 
Life 's sun is setting, and I see the shore 
Where I shall rest." 

Amen. 



THUS SAITH THE LORD 
By Rev. W. E. Schramm 

•*. . . Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt 
die, and not live." — ^11 Kings 20: 1. 

Occasion: Far a Stranger 

Sorrowing Friends : 

Death, that silent, mysterious and dreadful visitor, has come 
among us once more. Quite unexpectedly he has entered this 
home, and has laid his icy hand upon the brow of a son of this 
household. In the prime and vigor of manhood the summons has 
come to him, and yielding to that summons his soul has gone into 
the presence of his Maker and his Judge. 

It was not my privilege to know the deceased personally, and 
I shall, therefore, make no attempt to speak of his character or 
life. I am informed that as a boy he attended a Lutheran 
Sunday-school with some regularity, but that since that time, it 
has been but occasionally that he has attended the services of any 
church. Yet, I have no desire, I have indeed no right, to pass 
judgment upon his relation to God. There is but One who is 
competent to judge souls righteously, and he is the Lord on high. 
His Word declares, that "He that believeth and is baptized shall 
be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." If this 
young man went before God 's judgment throne with a living faith 
in Christ Jesus, if there was in his heart a clinging trust in the 
Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, it is well 
with him. If he departed without this trusting faith, the Script- 
ures give us no word of comfort which I can bring to you in this 
hour. Leaving your friend then in the hands of the Lord, who is 

41 



4^ PUNEEAL SERMONS 

a righteous Judge, permit me to address a few earnest words to 
you, who are here ^gsembled in this hour of mourning and 
sorrow. 

I ask you to notice carefully that the message I bring to you is 
not mine. It is the message of Almighty God. This brief text 
begins, "Thus saith the Lord." It is, therefore, our great God and 
King who says, ' ' Set thine house in order ; for thou slialt die and 
not live." This message God sent to Hezekiah, king of Judah, 
long years ago, and he had it recorded for our admonition and 
warning today. In these words the Lord gives us first an earnest 
exhortation — "Set thine house in order"; and in the second 
place, he presses this exhortation home to* us with an unanswer- 
able argument — "For thou shalt die and not live." 

"Set thine house in order." "Ah," someone may say, "I 
have given careful attention to this matter. I have written my 
will. I have made ample provision for my family. My private 
papers are all arranged in order. Everything is in readiness for 
the executor when my end comes. I have set my house in order." 
My friends, these are matters which may and should receive a 
certain amount of attention, but there are duties which are far 
more important than any of these. None of these things will 
prepare you to meet your God. None of these things will prepare 
you for the judgment to come. You need, above all things, a 
preparation which will cleanse you from your sins, for it is sin 
that has put your house into disorder and confusion. As long 
as your soul is burdened and stained with unpardoned sin, so 
long 3^our house has not been set in order. 

This cleansing from sin can be accomplished in just one way, 
and that is the way of repentance and faith. "Repent ye and 
believe the Gospel." This is the way of salvation which Jesus 
proclaimed, and in these words he gives us plain directions for 
setting our house in order. There is no other way. Repentance 
is necessary, because the man who is not repentant will not see 



THUS SAITH THE LORD 43 

his need of Christ, and, therefore, will never open his heart to 
receive the Savior. We must truly acknowledge that we have 
broken God's holy law in thought, word and deed. We must 
recognize the fact that our sins have offended God, and that on 
account of them we deserve God's temporal and eternal punish- 
ment. We must be truly sorry because of our wickedness, and 
turn away from sin with loathing. Such convictions in the heart 
indicate a repentant spirit, and repentance is an essential part 
of setting our house in order. 

But repentance must be joined to faith in Christ. Genuine re- 
pentance ever goes hand in hand with the confidence that God for 
Christ's sake forgives sin. Without faith it is impossible to please 
God in any matter, but he who holds to Christ in faith, has peace 
with God ; he has pardon from his sins ; he has power to live .the 
life which glorifies the Lord. Christ in the heart cleanses us from 
all that is offensive to God, and supplies us with all that we need 
to find favor in his sight. In other words, Christ in the heart sets 
the house completely in order. Men ask, ^'What shall I do to be 
saved?" My friends, our salvation is not something which we do, 
but a work which divine grace does for us. It is not wages which 
we earn, but a gift which God bestows upon us in Christ Jesus. 
Our blessed Savior lived and died that he might redeem us. He 
stands at the door of our heart and knocks. When we believe his 
promise, we open the door to admit him. He enters and banishes 
all the rubbish of iniquity and adorns us with the furnishings of 
holiness. Then is our house in order. 

But let us pass on to the argument which our Lord uses to 
make us feel the great importance of his exhortation and the 
urgent necessity for us to take it earnestly to heart. ' ' Thou shalt 
die and not live." This argument applied to King Hezekiah in 
olden time. It applies to every sin-infected human being since 
the time of Adam. It applies, therefore, to you and to me today. 
This word of God contains a truth which is not always easy to 



44 FUNERAL SERMONS 

realize. We find this 'Hhou" hard to apprehend. "Thou shalt 
die and not live." I look upon some pale, hollow-cheeked invalid 
and I can easily believe that he must die. I see some tottering 
old man, or some puny, delicate child, and I can readily under- 
stand that they may not live. But the fact that my heart beats 
must cease — that my eyelids must close in death — that I shall die 
and not live — this is hard indeed for us to realize. You can apply 
it to others, but to apply it to yourself, that is the difficulty. Yet 
when you think soberly and seriously you find it a truth which 
you cannot deny. It is an argument which you cannot answer. 
Thou shalt die and not live. 

We have here also, in our Lord's argument, a truth which is 
not pleasant to contemplate. To most men the thought of death is 
dreadful. We naturally shrink from it. The grave is repulsive to 
us. If we could, we would banish from our minds every thought 
of dying and of being buried. Particularly to men who are not 
Christians, are thoughts of death unwelcome. When worldly 
men and women are in some manner forced to think of their latter 
end, they often plunge into gaiety and into dissipation in order 
that they may forget the horror which such thoughts excite in 
them. But such a course is extremely foolish. When a wise man 
is overtaken by a storm, he will seek shelter ; only a fool will try 
to forget the storm's approach. Whether w^e relish it or not, my 
friends, it is a wholesome thing to face the truth, that "It is 
appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." 
"Thou shalt die and not live." 

But even when we admit that our Lord's word is true, and his 
argument unanswerable, we often try to console ourselves with 
the thought that our death is a thing of the far distant future. 
Young men and women are prone to imagine that their present 
health and strength render them immune from death. But, my 
friends, this very occasion affords a striking illustration of the 
truth that there is no age and no condition of health which is 



THUS SAITH THE LORD 45 

proof against death's summons. Until quite recently, this young 
man seemed to be in perfect health. A week ago he seemed no 
nearer death than any of us here present at his funeral. From 
life to death is indeed a short step, and God may call upon us to 
take that step at any time. This year, this week, this very day, 
God's grim messenger may come to you or to me. 

And now, in conclusion, a question — a vitally, important 
question — if the death angel should come soon, if he were to 
knock today at your door, would he find your house in order? 
Would he find you trusting in the crucified Son of God? Would 
you go before God's judgment throne trembling in the guilt of 
unpardoned sins? Or would you go boldly in the calm confidence 
that your iniquities are blotted out in the blood of Jesus? This is 
the first time that I have ever addressed most of you, and in the 
providence of God it may be the last time. I, therefore, ask you 
in all earnestness to take these questions to heart, and I pray the 
Holy Spirit may give you no peace, until you have answered 
them to the satisfaction of your soul and of your God. The Lord 
has given you the Bible to point out the way. He has established 
his church to instruct and to assist you on the way. And now he 
calls upon you, he pleads with you, ''Set thine house in order; 
for thou shalt die and not live." Amen. 



OUR CONVERSATION 
By Rev. S. P. Long, D. D. 

"Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a 
city, and continue there a year, and huy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye 
know not what shall he on the morrow. Tor what is your life? It is even a 
vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that 
ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." — 
James 4: 13-15. 

Occasion: Sudden accidental death of a husband and father 
while working 

Beloved Mourners and Friends: 

Little did any of you suppose the other morning when this 
husband and father left home and expected soon to return again 
that he would come back to die so soon. You well remember the 
last words as he went out of the house. How little you thought 
that it would be the last conversation you would ever have with 
him on this earth during this life; and how you treasure those 
words which fell from his lips. I am led to speak to you a few 
moments today in the presence of the dead, while I speak as a 
dying man to dying men, women and children of 

Our Conversation 

I want to show you what we generally say, how little we 
really do know, and then what we should say. 

May God bless this meditation and comfort us and lead us 
close to him who holds our lives in his hands ! 

What do we generally say? James knew human nature well. 
He is the practical apostle and knew the general drift of the 

46 



OUR CONVERSATION 47 

people's conversation, and he did not like it. His dislike of the 
popular way of saying things is expressed in the phrase, ''Go to 
now!" He meant just what we Americans mean when we say: 
"Now let up on that!" It was a custom in his day to say where 
they were going and how long they would stay and how they 
were going to do good business in a way that ignored God entire- 
ly, and he did not like that. 

And do we not do the same things today? Have you and I 
not said a thousand times: ''I am going to such and such a place 
tomorrow?" We seem to take it for granted that because we saw 
the sun rise so often we shall see it rise till the world comes to an 
end. Some day we will see the sun rise the last time in this life, 
and not one of us knows that we shall see tomorrow's sun. This 
man went away never dreaming that it was his last day's work 
on earth. Let us not be too sure where we are going tomorrow. 

"We will go into such a city, and continue there a year." 
"Man proposes, but God disposes." We plan to go away on such 
a day and to stay just so long, and we tell it as if God had noth- 
ing to do with our time. Many a man has written: "One year 
after date I promise to pay Mr. So-and-so, one hundred dollars 
for value received," but when the year was up his hand had 
turned to dust and his tongue had long since stopped counting 
money. We must plan for the future, and God does not object 
to our plans, providing we submit our plans to him for approval, 
as I shall show you hereafter, but the common conversation is all 
wrong just because it does not recognize God. We not only plan 
to go tomorrow and to return at a given time, but we talk as if 
there were no question about our success in business. "Buy and 
sell and get gain" was the object of all business in the days of 
James, and that is the motto today. Is it not strange that people 
think of nothing but gain today when it is plain history that 
over ninety per cent, of all business men fail? The big "I" 
without God is one of the false gods of the day. What is our 



48 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



daily conversation? I will go tomorrow. I will return in a year. 
I will make good. I shall come home rich. It is people's own 
fault, if they fail — look at me ! 

James understood human nature and the power of sin, and he 
cries to the churches: Now let up on that! He recognized, fur- 
thermore, how little we really know. ''Whereas ye know not 
what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life ? It is even a 
vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanish eth away. ' ' 
What do we really know about the future, or about life, or about 
death? 

It is well for every business to have a day of invoice and 
balancing of the books and see how the business stands. It is well 
for us to stop and think how much, or better, how little we 
actually know. How humble we would all be, if we could see 
ourselves as the Lord sees us! With all our wisdom we do not 
know what will happen tomorrow. The next minute is a stranger 
to us till it is the present. No one in this whole neighborhood 
would even have dreamed tw^o minutes before it happened that 
this man w^ould be dead and buried this week. ''What is your 
life? It is even a vapor." But what is a vapor? You say it is 
nothing, and, therefore, life is nothing. But wait ! Let us think a 
little ! We just passed a train with this funeral, and its tremen- 
dous weight was drawn by the ponderous black iron horse, and 
he ran down the road as if he were playing ; and what was it that 
gave that horse such w^onderful strength? Listen! It was vapor! 
Do you grasp that? Vapor is power of God in action. What do we 
know about life? Very little! 

And what is death? The end of life? Oh, no! Life "vanisheth 
away." Did you ever see nothing vanish away? The apostle 
Paul has called death in one of his epistles an "exodus" — a going 
out — a sailing out over the sea. He himself, whether in the body, 
or out of the body, he did not know, saw things in the third 
heaven — things not to be uttered on earth. What do we know 



OUR CONVERSATION 49 

about death? It is enough to know that the soul goes out and 
lives and never dies — that it is immortal! 

And all this leads us to a great conclusion — what we should 
say — ''For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, 
and do this, and that." Here, then, in a nutshell, is the key to 
correct conversation. We should speak of the Lord, of his will 
and of our service to him. Notice the weight of the one word 
"ought." I once heard Joseph Cook draw a picture that I shall 
never forget. He held before the eyes of the audience a great 
balance and placed one world after the other on the one end of it. 
Star after star he brought down and united the bulk until they 
reached to heaven, and then he took the little word, ''ought," 
and laid it on the other end of the scales, and the mountain went 
higher, and the ought came down. Never before did I grasp the 
tremendous weight of the word ought. May its weight lie on us 
from this day forth, as we consider our conversation. Ye ought 
to say, means that it must be said, if you want to do your duty. 
"Was there ever a greater subject for conversation than the Lord 
himself? Then why do we not speak of him? Why, why, do we 
Christians not love to speak of our dear Lord ? If he is our Lord, 
then he is our Master; and, if he is our Master, then his will 
should be consulted in all things. For him we should live. Him we 
should serve. What is the difference where we are, or what we 
do, "this or that," if we are where God wants us, and if we are 
doing what he gave us to do ? Believe me, dear friends, I would 
rather be where God wants me to be and do what he wants me to 
do, and say what he wants me to say in the darkest and loneliest 
spot on earth than to occupy the throne of the greatest earthly 
king against his will. I say it with a degree of shame that as a 
rule the professed Christian is the biggest coward on earth when 
it comes to speaking for his Lord. I am glad to say that the one 
whom Providence has called away so suddenly was not afraid nor 
ashamed to speak for his Lord and of him. He was a teacher in 



50 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



God's house of God's Word, and delighted in his work and con- 
versation. This should be a great comfort to the family and all 
friends. In all my ministry I have never been at a funeral — and 
I have preached over five hundred and thirty sermons in this 
county alone — where anyone was glad that the dead was not a 
Christian. On the other hand, even the careless rejoice to know 
that the dead was a child of God. Then let me ask you all here 
and now to give your bodies and souls to Jesus, and serve and 
obey him till death, that at last he may give you the crown of 
eternal life. Amen. 



A VISION OF HEAVEN 

By Rev. G. J. Troutman. 

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could 
number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood "before 
the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in 
their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God 
which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood 
round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell 
before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying. Amen: Bless- 
ing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and 
might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders 
answered, saying unto me. What are these which are arrayed in white 
robes? and whence come they? And I said unto him. Sir, thou knowest. 
And he said to me. These are they which come out of great tribulation, and 
have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve bim day and night 
in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun 
light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the 
throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: 
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." — Rev. 7: 9-17. 

Occasion : The Death of a Good Church Member 

Dear Mourners: 

At such a time as this, the beautiful and impressive hymn 
which we have sung is so comforting : 

**I*m but a stranger here, 
Heaven is my home; 
Earth is a desert drear, 
Heaven is my home. 
Danger and sorrow stand 
Eound me on every hand; 
Heaven is my fatherland, 
Heaven is my home." 

51 



52 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



How solacing to know that earth is not man 's only abiding-place ; 
that ''life is not a bubble, cast upon the ocean of time, to float 
a few moments upon the surface, and then sink into nothingness 
and darkness forever. ' ' We have a home in heaven. Paul says : 
''Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither entered into the heart 
of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love 
him" (I Cor. 2:9). "For I reckon that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory 
which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8: 18). Our text throws 
considerable light upon our future home, and graphically portrays 
the happiness of those who enter the New Jerusalem. 

God has, in mercy, lifted the curtain that separates earth and 
heaven, and permitted St. John to behold the magnificent scene 
that he describes in the words of our text. God help us properly 
to consider and vividly to view this scene for our instruction and 
comfort. 

St. John's Vision of Heaven, as Portrayed in Our Text 

I. What John saw: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great mul- 
titude which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, 
and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the 
Lamb. ' ' From these words of the revelator it is apparent that in 
this glimpse of heaven, which John was permitted to behold, he 
saw a great concourse of people, so large that it was impossible 
for man to count them. Hence we may conclude, that there are 
thousands upon thousands in heaven, enjoying the kingdom of 
glory. Nor does this contradict the statements of Christ, who 
said: "Many are called, but few are chosen," and that the major- 
ity of mankind are on the broad way that leads to everlasting 
damnation. We must not lose sight of the fact, that since the 
days of our first parents there have always been some godly 
people on the earth, who, when they departed this life, joined the 



A VISION OF HEAVEN 53 

host of heaven. Thus generation after generation has contributed 
to this number, until it has grown to a multitude, which no man 
can count. This innumerable host of saints, which inhabits the 
realms of glory, came from all nations and kindred and people 
and tongues, so that in heaven there are people of all nationali- 
ties, races, colors, and conditions. For, wherever the Gospel is 
proclaimed, there are always some persons who receive the glad 
tidings of our Savior's love, and thus enjoy the benefits. These 
God-favoring men, women and children of all people and tongues, 
who die in faith, enter the kingdom of glory and stand before the 
throne, and before the ''Lamb, which hath taken away the sins of 
the world." 

St. John, in this vision of heaven, furthermore informs us, that 
the glorified saints are clothed in white robes, and have palms in 
their hands. White is an emblem of purity and righteousness; 
and these persons, whom John saw standing before the throne of 
God, are pure and righteous. They were not so by nature, but 
grossly impure and unrighteous. These persons were made pure 
by God's grace, through Jesus Christ our Savior. And in this 
spotless dress they stand before this great tribunal, with palms 
in their hands. Palms are signs of peace, joy and victory; and 
these glorified saints rejoice over the peace which has been estab- 
lished between God and man, and the victory that has been won 
over sin, death and the devil. None of these enemies can harm 
them now ; they stand before the throne of him who has won the 
victory for them, and will be permitted to enjoy the fruits of this 
victory for ever and ever. 

The revelator, moreover, tells us, that these saints, as they 
stand before the throne, express the intensity of their joy and 
gratitude by praising God with a loud voice, saying: ''Salvation 
to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb." 
They attribute the glory of their salvation which they are now 
enjoying in a full measure not unto themselves but unto God, who 



54 FUNERAL SERMONS 

is the Author of salvation, and unto the Lamb as the Mediator. 
The angels also ''stood round about the throne, and about the 
elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their 
faces, and worshipped God." They acknowledged the glorious 
attributes of God by ''saying Amen: Blessing, and glory, and 
wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be 
unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." The angels that never 
sinned thus declare the divine perfection of God. In heaven a 
perfect harmony exists between angels and saints. Together they 
acknowledge, in songs of adoration and praise, the glorious be- 
ing and work of the almighty God. A certain writer has said: 
"We thus see what is the work of heaven, and we ought to begin 
it now, to get our hearts tuned for it, to be much in it, and to 
long for that world where our praises as well as our happiness 
will be perfected." We hope the beloved one, who has departed 
this life, is in this company of heaven. This glory, described by 
the holy writer, awaits you and me. We, too, if faithful unto 
death, will stand among that innumerable multitude, dressed in 
robes of spotless purity, waving palms of peace and victory. We, 
too, may join the angels and saints before the great white throne, 
and unite in singing songs of praise to the Lamb of God that 
hath taken away the sins of the world. 

II. What one of the elders said : One of the elders, that is one 
of the representatives of the triumphant church, asked St. John a 
question: "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and 
whence come they ? ' ' This inquiry was made by the elder, not for 
his own information but in all probability for John's and our 
instruction. For the lowest saint in heaven knows more than the 
wisest man in the world. John does not say that he cannot answer 
the question. He no doubt could have done so, but he knew that 
the elder was able to give a better and correct reply. So he 
answers: "Sir, thou knowest." And the elder said unto the 
revelator: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, 



A VISION OF HEAVEN 55 

and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood 
of the Lamb." Thus we notice that the persons who are enjoying 
the glory of heaven are not individuals who had an excellent 
time here on earth, whose earthly existence was one long holiday, 
but persons who have gone through many trials and tribulations. 
The poet expresses it thus: 

"Seems it in my anguish lone, 
As though God forsook his own, 
Yet I hold this knowledge fast, 
God will surely help at last. 

* ^ Earth may all her gifts deny, 
Safe my treasure is on high; 
And if heaven at last be mine 
All things else I can resign." 

The elder also informs us how the robes of the glorified saints 
become so beautiful and white. The robes were made white by the 
blood of the Lamb, and not by the individual efforts of the saints. 
''It is the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that cleanseth 
from all sin." 

*' Jesus, thy blood and righteousness 
My beauty are, my glorious dress; 
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, 
With joy shall I lift up my head. 

**This spotless robe the same appears 
When ruined nature sinks in years; 
No age can change its glorious hue, 
The robe of Christ is ever new." 

The elder informs the seer that these justified, sanctified and 
glorified persons are, on that account, "before the throne of God, 
and serve him day SLn,d night in his temple : and he that sitteth 
on the throne shall dwell among them." They are happy in their 
station and employment, for they serve God continually. And 



56 FUNERAL SERMONS 

God dwelleth among them and shall be their constant shelter, 
defence, and joy. There ''they see him face to face and sing the 
song redeemed by grace." 

Moreover, the saints in heaven are free from all care. Every 
want is amply supplied. "They shall hunger no more, neither 
thirst any more ; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any 
heat." Heaven is a place where there are no aches or pains, no 
trials or tribulations, no sickness or death, no funerals and no 
mourners. "For the Lamb shall feed them, and shall lead them 
unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes. ' ' They are in possession of everything that 
is pleasant, and are delivered from all sorrow and causes of 
sorrow. God himself wipes away the tears and they shall return 
no more forever. Dear mourners: It is such a home as this, we 
hope, our departed one has entered. Surely we would not wish 
him back in this cold and sinful world. Let us rather prepare to 
go where we believe he is. Let us so believe, live and die, that 
when we depart this life we may join the multitude who stand 
about the throne, and with the angels and saints glorify God 
for ever and ever. Amen. 



WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? 
By Rev. G. J. Troutman. 

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven: hut he that doeth the will of my Father which is in 
heaven." — Matt. 7: 21. 

Occasion: Death of a Christian Man 

Dear Mourners: 

We have assembled this afternoon to perform the last sad 
rites over the remains of the departed brother. Naturally, on 
such an occasion as this, as at no other time, serious thoughts 
pass through our minds. We are forcibly reminded of the indis- 
putable fact that man is mortal. Sooner or later, the grim reaper, 
Death, will knock at our door, and v^e must obey the summons. 
Thus at such a time as this, we think of that eternity toward 
which we are tending. This afternoon we will lay the lifeless 
body of the beloved one in the grave, to wait the glorious resur- 
rection morn; but the soul, we hope, is with God in heaven. But 
it is a grave mistake to suppose that death is always the vestibule 
to heaven. Let us, for our instruction, admonition and comfort, 
consider the subject: 

Who Will Enter the Kingdom of Heaven? 

I. Not every one. ''Not every one," as the devil would have us 
believe. If Satan cannot succeed in making an unbeliever of a 
person, he will attempt, and often succeeds, in alluring him into 
a condition of false security, regarding the soul's salvation. It is 
exceedingly gratifying to this arch-enemy of God and man, if he 

57 



58 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



can make a person believe that life need not be taken so seriously ; 
that it matters little what a person believes, or does not believe ; 
what he does, or fails to do ; he will, notwithstanding, enter the 
kingdom of heaven. Satan, in this manner, succeeds in rocking 
many a conscience asleep, while he drags the soul to hell. That 
many have, and are, being thus deceived, is apparent to the 
Christian observer. "Not every one," as the Universalists teach, 
will enter the kingdom of heaven. One would suppose that this 
so-called church, with its doctrine of universal salvation, would 
have many adherents, and be an exceedingly popular church. 
This tenet ought to be very acceptable to fallen man. But such is 
not the case. People are wise enough to conclude that if every- 
body will finally be saved, then there is little if any use for the 
church. Universalists tell us all are chosen. Christ declares: 
"Many are called but few are chosen." Universalists would have 
us believe that the gate is so wide, and the way so broad, that 
leads to heaven, that all will enter. Our Saviour says: "Enter ye 
in at the strait gate — because strait is the gate, and narrow is the 
way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." 
Universalists teach that none will be condemned, all will be 
saved. Christ declares: "He that believeth and is baptized shall 
be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned," We Christians 
accept the statements of our Savior Jesus Christ, and hold fast 
to them, whether they be acceptable to flesh and blood or not. 

"Not every one" will be saved even if this be the prevailing 
opinion of many. A careful observer cannot fail to notice that 
there are many people who are not Universalists, yet, when they 
hear that a person has departed this life, take it for granted that 
the individual has gone to heaven. In fact, these persons are 
astonished, and very often angered, should anyone express a 
doubt regarding the salvation of the departed one. "Who cannot 
recall instances of persons departing this life, without having 
been baptized, or making confession of Christ; who have never 



WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? 59 

been known to read the Bible, or attend divine service, except on 
funeral occasions when practically compelled to attend. Yet, 
notwithstanding this deplorable condition, when such persons 
die, there are always some who pronounce them blessed, and 
speak of them as being in heaven. They request that ''Asleep in 
Jesus! Blessed Sleep," be sung at the funeral, the inconsistency 
of which everybody must feel. We Christians should disapprove 
of such travesty, and impress on these misguided people that only 
those are blessed "that die in the Lord." 

' ' Not every one ' ' that has a religion will enter the kingdom of 
heaven. There are ever so many religions taught on this sinful 
earth. Who can begin to enumerate all of them? And some 
people have permitted Satan to delude them into believing that 
all that is necessary in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven 
is a religion ; and it is immaterial what kind of a religion one con- 
fesses. They say : One religion is just about as good as another. All 
you need do to be saved is to live in conformity with the confes- 
sion you profess, the Jew to Judaism; the Mohammedan to 
Mohammedanism; the Christian to Christianity; the Moralist to 
Moralism, etc. True believers will not permit themselves to be 
entrapped in such snares. They know that there is only one 
saving religion, and that is the religion of Jesus Christ. "I am 
the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father 
but by me," saith Christ. "Neither is there salvation in any 
other: for there is none other name under heaven given among 
men, whereby we must be saved." No, dear mourners, the 
Scriptures plainly teach that "not every one" will be saved; let 
us hold fast to the Scriptures. 

II. Not every one that calls upon the Lard: Our text plainly 
states : "Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." Or, in other words, not every indi- 
vidual that outwardly confesses Christ will be saved. That Christ 
desires us to make a confession, and to make it publicly, is 



go FUNERAL SERMONS 

apparent from his own words: "Whosoever therefore shall con- 
fess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father 
which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, 
him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" 
(Matt. 10: 31-33). This statement of our Lord is certainly ex- 
plicit. He wants us to acknowledge him before men. We do this 
when we unite with the Christian Church, attend services regu- 
larly, participate in the Lord's Supper, and in word and deed 
manifest a truly Christian spirit. 

Our text clearly proves that a formal confession will not save. 
A mere lip service is not sufficient to entitle a person to a place 
in the kingdom of heaven. "Not every one that saith, Lord, 
Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven." The mere fact that 
a person habitually goes to church and the Lord's Supper, talks 
about God, and calls upon the Lord, does not prove with absolute 
certainty that such a person is a Christian. He may do all this 
from habit, or because he sees that it pays from a financial view- 
point, or that it gives him a standing in the community which he 
could not otherwise obtain. These and various other reasons, too 
numerous to mention, may be instrumental in causing an indi- 
vidual to say. Lord, Lord, while his heart is far from God. That 
there are insincere persons in the church needs no proof. That 
there are hypocrites among professed Christians, must not sur- 
prise anyone. Christ has told us that there are such. .A hypocrite 
may succeed in deceiving the world, but he cannot deceive Christ. 
"Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into 
the kingdom of heaven." 

Not all that call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, 
because they do not remain faithful until death. Is it not to be 
deplored that there are so many who have at one time or another 
made a good confession before God and many witnesses, but later 
have fallen by the wayside ? Oh, how sad that a person who was 
once a child of God should turn back to the world! Yet, their 



WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? Ql 

number is legion. The fact that a person has once been baptized, 
confirmed and been a faithful member of a church, will not insure 
salvation. He must be faithful to the end. *'Be thou faithful 
unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2: 10). 
Who does not realize the need of our Savior's warning: "Watch 
ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is 
ready, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14: 38)? No, not all those 
who have called upon the Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, 
for some are insincere, and others do not remain faithful unto 
death. Is not this an earnest warning for us to guard ourselves 
lest our praying, singing, reading, and church-going be mere 
formalism? May we be numbered among those who worship God 
in spirit and in truth. 

III. He that doeth the will af the Father: The words of our 
text make it plain who will be saved. ''He that doeth the will of 
my Father which is in heaven." Is not this explicit? The person 
that does the will of God the Father can be absolutely certain 
of entering the kingdom of heaven. Where do we find the will of 
God ? We answer : In the Bible. In the Scriptures of the Old and 
New Testament, God our heavenly Father has revealed his will 
unto us. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of 
man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost." All that is necessary for man to know in order to 
attain eternal life has been revealed to us in this blessed book 
which we call the Bible. No wonder it is highly prized by God's 
children. 

It is the will of the Father, that we make the proper use of the 
Scriptures. If we search them diligently we will find that Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, is our only Savior, and that there is 
absolutely no hope of salvation except in his name and through 
his mercies. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life." It will become apparent that those 



g2 FUNERAL SERMONS 

who depend upon their own righteousness to bring them into the 
kingdom of heaven will utterly fail; for the only righteousness 
that avails before the throne of God is the perfect righteousness 
of Christ which is appropriated through faith and assures us of 
the blessedness of heaven. It is the will of the Father that we 
make the proper use of the means of grace, the "Word and sacra- 
ments, which our Savior has instituted to prepare the soul for 
the eternal kingdom. It is the will of the Father that man unite 
with the church which the Lord has established for the purpose 
of promulgating the wonderful Gospel of salvation among men. 
It is the will of the Father that we take Christ as our example and 
let our light so shine before men that they may see our good 
works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. It is the will 
of the Father that we believe and live in such a manner that 
when the hour of death comes we may say with Paul: ^'I am 
now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have 
kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me 
at that day : and not to me only, but unto all them also that love 
his appearing." That person will enter into the kingdom of 
heaven that doeth the will of the Father, and this will is found in 
the Scriptures. 

Dear mourners : Our comfort on this sad occasion is not based 
on man's opinion, or sentimentality, or good works, but upon 
the infallible word of God. Our departed brother did the will of 
God, although in great weakness. He was baptized in infancy, 
and thus became a child of God. In confirmation he publicly 
ratified the covenant vow, and confessed Christ before many wit- 
nesses. He not only attended divine services, but took an active 
interest in that institution which the Lord established. The 
departed one was not sinless ; by no means. This he acknowledged 
by attending confessional services, and on his knees confessing 



WHO WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? 53 

his sins before God and man, and partaking of that sacrament, 
the Lord's Supper, which was ordained to bring pardon to the 
guilty soul and give life and salvation. These are some of the 
reasons why we believe that our brother is with God in heaven. 
God give us grace to do the will of the Father, so that when we 
depart this life we may enter the kingdom of heaven. 

"Now lay we calmly in the grave, 
This form, whereof no doubt we have 
That it shall rise again that day, 
In glorious triumph o'er decay." 

Amen. 



THE PATH OF LIFE 
By Rev. W. R. Walter 

"Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of 
joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures f orevermore. " — Ps. 16: 11. 

Occasion : For Middle- Aged Church Member 

Dear Mourning Friends: 
Well has the poet said : 

**Life is real, life is earnest, 
And the grave is not its goal. 
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
Was not spoken of the soul.'' 

It is the wise design of God that the soul of man shall be 
perpetuated after physical death. The soul is spirit and created 
indestructible. Consciousness of the human soul shall continue 
forevermore. That consciousness shall be either in the heirship 
of heaven or in the realm of deserved doom eternal. It is of the 
future life that dying mortals inquire. Job asks: "If a man die, 
shall he live again?" Scripture replies in the affirmative: ''Some 
to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." 

The future happiness, or future woe of the soul is determined 
by the way — the path — that the soul follows as it passes through 
life and the valley of the shadow of death. There are many 
roads in this life that lead to eternity's brink, but there is 
only one road that leads to eternal happiness and joy; all 
the other ways lead to destruction. Let us heed the Master's 
admonition: ''Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, 
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there 

64 



THE PATH OP LIFE 65 

be that go in thereat ; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the 
way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." 
It is of this narrow way that our text speaks. 

The Path of Life 

May God grant us believing hearts and understanding minds 
while we consider for our comfort and edification: 

1. The Path. 

2. Its Destination. 

The blessed Master has not left us without comfort. The words 
he spake unto the disciples long years ago are living words for us 
today. Their hearts were sad when he told them of his departure 
from this world, but he comforted them, saying: ''Let not your 
hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my 
Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would 
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and 
prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto 
myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I 
go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto the Lord, 
We know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the 
way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the 
life : no man cometh unto the Father but by me. ' ' These words 
of Jesus are an excellent sermon on our text. They tell us clearly 
of the path, that is both the truth and the life, the only way unto 
the mansions in the Father's house. 

There is salvation in none other name given under heaven 
whereby we can be saved but by the precious name of Jesus. 
Christ is the only way for the dying sinner, as the open portal 
unto grace, pardon and life eternal. We are either saved alone 
and totally in Christ by faith, or we are not saved at all. Chris- 
tians everywhere are saved only in this way. There must be no 



QQ FUNERAL SERMONS 

deviation from the path. It must be Jesus, only Jesus, in our 
faith, in our confession, in our life. 

We do not find that path by our natural powers. All the 
wisdom and knowledge of the world are not sufficient to guide us 
to the path of life. The words here say: "Thou," referring to 
God, "wilt show me the path of life." "I cannot by my own 
reason or strength believe on Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to 
him, but the Holy Ghost has called me through the Gospel and 
enlightened me with his gifts," is what we Christians must 
confess. Unless God shows us the way, and guides and preserves 
us in the way until our journey is ended, we shall never reach the 
home of the blessed. But the promise to believers is: "The meek 
will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach in his 
way," and "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide 
you into all truth." Jesus comforts us in trials and sorrows, and 
temptations with the assurance: "I will never leave thee nor 
forsake thee," and "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end 
of the world. " He is with us to guide and keep us in the narrow 
path by the leading of the Spirit. Hence we sing : 

''Jesus, be our guide, 
As through life we glide; 
Faithfully in our behavior 
May we follow thee, dear Saviour, 
Lead us by the hand 
Through to Fatherland." 

God shows us the path of life clearly. He does not leave us to 
our naturally blinded instincts and reason, nor to our faulty 
intellects and emotions, but points out the way in his infallible 
Word which is Spirit and life. It is that Word that the Holy 
Spirit employs to work faith in our hearts and to guide us into all 
truth and keep us steadfast in hope and faith to make our salva- 
tion sure. 



THE PATH OF LIFE 67 

The Psalmist here says : ''Thou wilt show me the path of life." 
what comfort! Jesus knows every individual member of his 
flock. Jesus knows you. Jesus knows me. Jesus is our way, our 
truth, our life, and with Paul we can therefore cheerfully profess : 
''For me to live is Christ." Such was the profession of our 
departed sister. From her confession and daily walk we conclude 
that her profession was prompted by living faith in Christ, and in 
him she had found the path of life. 

And now as we consider the destination of the path, our text 
responds: "In thy presence." Into the presence of our Redeemer. 
The Christian is an alien and a stranger here, a wanderer, a 
pilgrim on his journey, homeward bound to his Father's house, 
the home in heaven. "For here we have no continuing city, but 
we seek one to come," exclaims Paul. Here in this life there is 
but little real joy, and that joy is mixed with alloy of sorrow and 
disappointments, as St. Austin says: "A drop of joy in an ocean 
of sorrow. ' ' Yesterday merriment filled the heart with laughter ; 
today come sorrow and tearful lamentations. Yesterday had 
its hopes and glad anticipations; today those hopes are crushed 
to the earth. Yesterday ambition held sway in the soul; today 
finds the ruin of human plans. Yesterday parents' hearts were 
teeming with joy; today there is weeping and sobs for a lit- 
tle white coffin has been carried into the home. Yesterday 
a family circle was complete ; today it is broken ; for the wife 's 
and mother's place is vacant. Will there never be cessation to 
these trying ordeals, these sorrows, these tears, these partings, 
these death-bed scenes ? Oh, yes, in the presence of God in heaven ! 
There sorrows cannot enter, there sin can never come, there death 
will never be known, for the Christian will be at home. Farewells 
and good-byes are of earth; in heaven partings are unknown. 
John writes: "There shall be no night there. God shall wipe 
away all tears from their eyes." No darkness, no sorrows, no 
tears there! How can there be when the Word here tells us: "In 



gg FUNERAL SERMONS 

thy presence is fulness of joy." Fulness of joy is there; not that 
it has been there, or shall be there, but is eternally present there. 
Joy is ready and awaits the pilgrim's home-coming'. It has been 
prepared by Christ; wrought by his works as our mediator, pur- 
chased by his blood as our Redeemer. 

New pleasures await us at the home-coming, as the Word here 
says: ''At thy right hand there are pleasures evermore." We do 
not understand the blessings promised us, and even were God to 
tell us in plain words all the happiness and the glories of the 
saints above we could not comprehend them, "As it is written, 
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that 
love him." The joys of heaven never fade, never wither, never 
die, nor ever are they lessened or interrupted. The joys of the 
saints in glory are never ebbing, but, like the incoming tide of 
the ocean, Jflow to a fulness of measure and contentment : for the 
blessed are forever with the Lord where "there is fulness of 
joy." It is no wonder that the tried and suffering Christian is so 
often homesick and longs for the heavenly rest. Yet great as the 
Christian's anticipations may be here, he cannot form the slightest 
idea of eternal bliss, but he tunes his heart to that beautiful hymn 
by De Morlai: 

** Jerusalem the golden! 

With milk and honey blessed, 
Beneath thy contemplation 
Sink heart and voice opprest. 
f I know not, O, I know not 

What joys await us there, 
What radiancy of glory. 
What bliss beyond compare!'* 

Dear bereaved Friends : In the presence of God there is fulness 
of joy; at his right hand there are pleasures evermore. There is 
comfort for you in these words. We confidently believe that the 



THE PATH OF LIFE 69 

wife, the mother, the sister, the friend for whom we mourn today 
has entered into that joy of the Lord which has no end. A Chris- 
tian's farewell to those dear ones who die in the Lord has the 
true meaning of Good-bye — "God be with you" — and include 
those impressive w^ords of the German at parting: ''Auf Wieder- 
sehen," which means, ''We hope to meet again." Would we meet 
again, in the presence of God where there is fulness of joy, and 
pleasures evermore, those dear saints who have gone before? 
Then must we follow in the narrow path, treading in the footsteps 
of the Master. We must resign ourselves to God. His Word must 
be our chart and guide so that with Paul we may declare: ''The 
life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of 
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Let us make our 
salvation sure by daily consecrating ourselves anew unto God. 
Then when the trials and cares and afflictions of life beset us the 
comfort will be with us. When the chilling waters of the river 
of death encompass us, we will be ready to face the foe in the last 
battle and having clung to Christ by faith, the victory will be 
ours and the crown of life which Jesus has laid up for us, we 
shall wear throughout eternity in that 

''Land of pure delight, 

Where saints immortal dwell, 
Eternal day excludes the night, 
And pleasures banish pain. ' ' 

Amen. 



FAITHFULNESS IS THE CROWNING GLORY OF 
THE LORD'S SERVANTS 

By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: 
thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many 
things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." — Matt. 25: 21. 

Occasian: The Death of a Pastor 

Brethren of the ministry, especially members of this family: 

J F S was born in the common walks of life. His 

parents followed the first and most honorable of all earthly call- 
ings. They were farmers. His early life was spent in farm work 
and he developed a healthy body and a firm character. But this 
was not to be his life's work. The beneficial effects of his early 
training remained with him throughout life. He loved the com- 
mon people, was not afraid of drudgery and could talk to men in 
the common walks of life in language and figures which they 
could understand. 

God gave him his talents. He loved books. This was a finger- 
board on the road of life. It was somewhat late in his youth, at 
about the age of twenty-one, that he took up the preparation for 
the Christian ministry. But it was not harmful, because he was 
settled in his disposition, fixed in his purpose and unlike so many 
candidates for this office, he kept his eye steadily on the goal. 

He completed his work here in eight years. He was ordained 
to the office and served acceptably in three congregations. During 
the last year he was twice afflicted in health — once seriously and 
this last time fatally. The last chapter of his life has been 
written by God himself. The Lord took him. And as the divine 

70 



1 



FAITHFULNESS THE CROWNING GLORY 71 

hand closed the book of his life never to be opened in time, I hear 
a voice saying: ''Well done, good and faithful servant!" 

There are many qualifications that both God and man expect 
in a minister of Jesus Christ. Experience shows that men require 
more than God. The duties of the office extend over such a wide 
range, that there seems to be no limit to the gifts and accom- 
plishments which a pastor and preacher may use profitably in his 
holy office. No man has all the gifts which could be used and not 
a few incumbents lack some that are really desirable. This may 
explain why men are such unjust critics and make such severe 
demands upon their pastors. 

God is more charitable and this is a real comfort. True, even 
he demands some gifts. He says that ''a bishop must be apt to 
teach," that he must be an example to the flock and that he 
must rule well his own house. Amid all the requirements which 
both man and God may demand in a Gospel minister, what is the 
crown? St. Paul says: ''Moreover it is required in stewards that 
a man be found faithful. ' ' He refers that to all stewards whether 
they be set over material or spiritual possessions. 

Faithfulness is the Crowning Glory of the Lord's Servants 

I. The Lord praises it: This text is taken from the parable of 
the king who, before going into a far country, called his servants 
about him and entrusted unto them his goods. To the one he 
entrusted more, to the other less. He said: "Occupy (work) till I 
come." At last he came and called them to an account. He finds 
one who had five talents in his keeping and he brings other five 
talents which he had earned, and the king praised him. The king 
might have praised him for his diligence, his wisdom, his thrift, 
his cunning, his zeal, his forethought. But nothing of all that. 
He says: "Thou hast been faithful." This is the crowning virtue 
and glory of a servant to deny his own will, and to do that of 



Y2 FUNERAL SERMONS 

another, to have an eye single to one purpose and that not of his 
own choosing. 

If the Lord praises faithfulness in his servants, why should not 
I? I will. 

Our brother was faithful to his King. He understood his 
relation to his Lord to be that of a servant to a king. He was 
content to occupy the position of a subordinate and was happy in 
it. He was not crouching before an earthly master and was not 
fawning for favor. He recognized that there was One who was 
his Maker, who formed him in secret, gave him body and soul, 
eyes and ears and all his members and whose purpose was that 
the creature might glorify him. The ruling principle of his life 
was submission to his Master. His question was this: "What is 
the will of my King?" And when he recognized it, he bowed in 
submission. It becomes a servant to know his place and knowing 
it he is in a position to be faithful. 

No man reaches this standpoint except by the aid of God's 
Spirit. Human nature is sodden in selfishness. In fact, selfishness 
is the very essence of sin. The human mind is self-centered and 
there is a real battle to be fought out with the Spirit of God before 
a man comes to this state of submission. But when the Spirit has 
won the victory and there is in the human heart a new center, a 
new motive, a new life, what a happy life it is ! 

Our brother was faithful to his office. There was committed 
to him the highest office in the gift of the church. He was a Gospel 
minister. I speak advisedly when it is called the highest office in 
the gift of the church. There is none higher — none even so high. 
The world does not place that estimate on the office and we need 
not be disturbed. Their eyes are holden. Their faces are turned 
earthward. They have looked so long and intently upon the earth 
that they have forgotten that which is above. As much as the 
soul surpasseth the body, by so much does the ministry surpass 
other callings. These are concerned about temporal, perishable 



FAITHTULNESS THE CROWNING GLORY 73 

things ; but the holy office of the ministry is concerned about the 
spiritual, the eternal. 

Our brother understood the very spirit and essence of the 
Christian ministry ; he understood it to be the office of reconcilia- 
tion. No man can be faithful until he has absorbed that concep- 
tion. Not until an incumbent of the office has a clear conception 
of the nature and attributes of God and of man can he be 
efficient, or faithful in the work. Our God is holy. Sin is an 
offence to him and in his wrath he is moved to temporal and 
eternal punishment. But he has had mercy on the helpless sinner 
and has sent Christ to reconcile the world unto himself and now 
the purpose of the Gospel ministry is to plead with men to be 
reconciled with God. 

What a distorted conception of this office some preachers must 
have ! Judging by the themes which are announced in the daily 
papers, by the projects which are launched and directed by them, 
by the work which they foist on congregations and by the large 
amount of time at their disposal for amusements and relaxation, 
one is forced to conclude that the temporal is more vital than the 
eternal, that sin has lost its damnable character and that God is no 
longer stretching out his merciful hands to a dying world. 

Contrast with those preachers, this one. He was willing to 
discard human wisdom for the revelation of God. Sweeter than the 
doctrine of salvation by ethical culture and good works was this bib- 
lical teaching : ''Thebloodof Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from 
all sin. ' ' He rightly divined the Word — the law for the flesh and 
the Gospel for the spi;rit. He did not belong to that class of 
preachers of whom an aged father in Israel once said to me: 
"Our pastor is such a gentle man. He can tell a man that he is a 
sinner and do it in such a pleasant way that the man pays no 
attention to it." You did not go home feeling that hell was a 
pleasure resort when you heard his testimony against sin. And 
you felt the comfort of the Gospel for repentant sinners when he 



74 FUNERAL SERMONS 

lifted up the Crucified One. In the conduct of your congregational 
work there was always that fundamental question : ' ' What is the 
Lord's will?" As one of his parishioners I voice the sentiment of 
all when I say that he was faithful to his office. 

Our brother was faithful to his church. He was a member of 
the Church of the Reformation and was such from conviction. He 
was not like some, in a church, but out of harmony with it and at 
every turn offending against its principles ; uncomfortable himself 
and making others so. He understood the history, doctrines, life, 
practices and spirit of this church and he stood by them. He was 
not sighing for greater liberty, knowing that the greatest liberty 
consistent with God's revelation is already ours. He was an 
intelligent, consistent Lutheran. God raise up many more such! 
We need them in our ranks. Our church is frequently misunder- 
stood and misjudged and we need men in our pulpits who will 
stand their ground and defend our biblical principles. We do not 
need men who defend our principles and practices just because 
they are Lutheran, but whose conviction is that they are biblical I 
Then our distinctive doctrines will he upheld and our church will 
fulfil its mission in this land. 

That the departed was a conservative Lutheran was again 
shown upon his deathbed. He called for the Holy Sacrament. It 
seemed necessary to administer it at once while his mind was yet 
clear and he still had the ability to examine himself. The ele- 
ments were prepared from the first material at hand, common 
bread alone being available at the instant. But when he saw that 
table bread was set out he requested that hosts be procured. 
'"For," said he, ''on my death-bed I do not wish to make the 
confession of indifference or of laxity." He was mindful of all 
that bitter struggle through which the church passed in her con- 
tention for the sacrament and in his dying hour he was not 
willing to appear in depreciation of her contention and victory. 
That is the true spirit to be manifested by a Lutheran pastor. 



FAITHFULNESS THE CROWNING aLORT 75 

That spirit did not merely manifest itself in the eleventh hour of 
his life, but was regnant throughout his official career. 

Our brother was faithful to his Synod. He was born and 
reared in this Synod. He was educated in her institutions and he 
loved her work. Our Synod has passed through many bitter bat- 
tles. Her history like that of the church at large has been one of 
conflict to maintain in its purity the faith once delivered to the 
saints. She has testified against unionism, Calvinism, lodgery, 
new-measurism and a host of isms. Many have fallen by the way. 
Our brother never was a champion or a leader in our conflicts, 
but he stood. A church does not need a large number of leaders 
and standard-bearers. The nature of things does not require it. 
But it does need a large number of supporters. He was one upon 
whom we could count in every good work and in every righteous 
move. 

n. The Lord rewards it : The king rewarded his faithful serv- 
ant by an advancement in service. He says: "Thou hast been 
faithful over a few things. I will make thee a ruler over many 
things." At first he was a servant, but now he was to become a 
ruler. At first there were intrusted to him but a few things, but 
now he was to have many things. His reward came by advance- 
ment in service. 

The faithful are advanced in this life. To them we give our 
confidence. Their talents grow by use. In their lives the saying 
is fulfilled: ''To him that hath shall be given." The condition 
upon which this is done is that faithful use be made of gifts and 
opportunities. Gifts and talents grow by use. Even in a worldly 
sense God says to such people: ''Come up higher." 

This reward came to our brother. God called him from the 
plow to the college; from college to the seminary; from the 
seminary to the pulpit; from a country pulpit to a city pulpit; 
from a city pulpit to this university pulpit. All through life 
there was a gradual progression, a growing field of usefulness. 



76 FUNERAL SERMONS 

God was making him a ruler over many things. What a sphere 
of usefulness was offered him here. To help to mold the character 
and to form the ideals of our prospective pastors, to pose uncon- 
sciously as their model, this it seems to me is a field of unusual 
influence. Though dead he still speaks in the lives and work of 
other men. 

God gave man dominion and its exercise brings satisfaction to 
the human heart. The possession of money and goods gives joy to 
the soul largely because it puts the possessor into a position to 
exercise dominion. Why does the scientist seek to wrest from 
nature her secrets? Because he seeks dominion over her! What 
have the wars of the world been about? To a great extent for 
dominion. No man exercises dominion in a higher degree than 
the preacher and the prophet. His is a moral power. The greatest 
satisfaction that any man derives from his work is the conscious- 
ness of having rendered the world an indispensable service. This 
reward of faithfulness our brother had. 

But there comes to a Christian a higher service and reward. 
They will be higher in kind and in degree. As the future life is 
higher than the present, its services and rewards will be in pro- 
portion. This life has limitations. Here we are held down by the 
weaknesses and fetters of the flesh. Here sin holds sway. The 
slimy trail of the old serpent is visible and there is nothing so 
fair but he has befouled it. Our faculties have been dwarfed ; our 
reason clouded; our will perverted; our affections warped; but 
when we have cast off this tenement of clay and have been freed 
from the curse of sin and the image of God is once more restored 
in its fulness, then the Lord will have service for us that is 
commensurate with our larger powers. 

That life is not one of idleness. God is ever active ; he never 
slumbers nor sleeps. He could not tolerate creatures around him 
that do not revel and delight in activity. See what he is doing in 
this world and then by analogy conclude what he must be doing 



PAITHFULNESS THE CROWNING GLOBT 77 

there. If in this lower form of existence there is so much to do in 
his service, how the heart beats and the breast heaves in anticipa- 
tion of what is coming! 

We do not fully know wherein this higher service will consist, 
but here and there a glint of light falls through the curtain that 
separates time from eternity. God in his Word has drawn the 
curtain. A man standing by a wall and looking through a chink 
may have a view of a whole field that lies beyond. That must 
have been St. Paul's case when he cries out in exultation: "Eye 
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart 
of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. ' ' 

The glory which is peculiar to Jesus as the exalted Son of 
God, which causes the hosts of heaven to bow down before him 
and worship, sending up their anthems echoing and re-echoing 
through the vaults of heaven, that glory the King promises to 
share with the faithful. In this life we have shared with him 
battles and hardships and persecutions; but we will go from 
battle to victory, from insult to honor, from death unto life. 

How often the language of Scripture is made to groan beneath 
the w^eight of meaning when the sacred writers try to convey to us 
a glimpse of that heavenly glory ! But they succeed only in part. 
We know that the reward that awaits us will be out of all propor- 
tion to our services. If a king in his magnanimity should give a 
servant a palace for a day's work it would be a reward of grace 
and not of merit. "We shall drink of the rivers of joy." "At thy 
right hand are pleasures forever more. ' ' Not a drop of joy ; that 
would do : not a cup of joy ; that would suffice : not a vessel of 
joy; that would be a plenty; but rivers of joy at God's right hand 
forever. AVho can comprehend the reward of the faithful! 

Brethren of the ministry, students of our school and members 
of our congregation and family: what is the lesson of the hour? 
"Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of 
life. ' ' Amen. 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 
By Rev. Prof. David H. Bauslin, D. D. 

"But I would not have you to "be ignorant, brethren, concerning them 
which are fallen asleep . . ." — ^I Thess. 4: 13. 

Occasion : For a Prominent Church Member 

Addison tells a story of a dweller in Bagdad, who, having a 
vision, saw a bridge projected from a cloud on the hillside to a 
mist on a corresponding acclivity. Beneath the bridge there 
flowed a deep, dark and turbulent stream. The bridge itself, you 
may remember — for many of you have read the story in the 
schoolbooks — rested on an hundred arches ; the first seventy were 
firm and intact; the last thirty were crumbling and unsafe. An 
innumerable multitude was continually emerging from the cloud 
and struggled and jostled each other on the bridge. In the bridge 
were numberless traps, and through them the wayfarers kept 
falling and disappearing in the stream beneath. A few only kept 
on until they reached the last thirty of the arches, and with 
trembling step faltered along among the crumbling stone, and, 
only prolonged by vigorous eJffiorts, they inevitably dropped into 
the stream beneath. That vision is an epitome of human life. It is 
a somewhat weird portrayal of the end of man 's fitful and uncer- 
tain earthly existence. '^Alas," said the beholder in the narrative, 
''here is man given away to mortality and swallowed up in 
death." This vision is a rehearsal of the absolutely omnipresent 
fact — "dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." No man 
who is pastor of a congregation as large as this, composed of so 
many households, can have failed to notice, and painfully, how 

78 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 79 

frequent a visitant upon the earth death is ; how much of uncer- 
tainty and painful possibility all our days and nights are 
freighted with; with what frequency the tenderest expectations 
falter, the dearest plans are broken, and the fondest hopes droop 
into dreary disappointment. And yet, my friends, this is but to 
have taken up into one's own experience and observation the 
most painful natural fact of human history from the beginning. 
Wise men of the world have taken different standpoints, reasoned 
from this and then from that assumed or admitted fact, followed 
different and frequently divergent lines of reasoning, and con- 
structed theory after theory, each of which in its turn has given 
place to some successor, until now the entire pathway of the 
world's history is strewn with the wreckage of abandoned theo- 
ries, unsatisfactory speculations and disproven assumptions. And 
yet today, as at the beginning, the great unknown is before us, 
and to the human wisdom it is as much the unknown as ever 
before. Here the wisdom of the world stands today as it has stood 
for more than six thousand years, knowing nothing of the future, 
either near or remote, especially after the death warrant has been 
issued and executed. Before the great perplexing question all 
worldly wisdom stands with bowed head and sealed lips. It has 
been so from the beginning. Go back to the earliest annals of our 
race and in the fifth chapter of the old book of Genesis you read 
the genealogy of a long line of patriarchs, each terminating with 
these words, "And he died." 

These words are broad and deep with meaning. They mean 
that the wonderful functions upon which our animal life depends, 
and all the other functions connected with man's physical organi- 
zation, have reached their final limit. They mean that all the 
signs and manifestations on earth and through the body are at an 
end. They mean that a man's power to think has come to an end. 
They mean that the body that the man once used and graced is no 
longer useful, and that no nerve, or sense, or muscle can give the 



80 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



feeblest hint, as to where the real man is or what has become of 
him. They mean that all of a man's connection with and partici- 
pation in the affairs of this world are completely ended, as much 
as if he had never existed at all. They mean that the world is done 
with a man, and that he is done with it as a present and active 
factor and power. These words mean, for the mightiest monarch 
that ever ruled, that he comes down to the level of the commonest 
subject, so far as action and influence on earth is concerned, the 
moment he stops breathing. Life itself is a marvel which has 
taxed the scientific wisdom and curiosity of all the ages, and when 
it stops the marvel loses none of its strangeness. Society has no 
service which dead men can render, and no machinery which they 
can run. Dead men enact no law; they make no speeches; they 
write no books ; they fight no battles ; they set on foot no magnifi- 
cent enterprises to employ or bless mankind. All that is left of 
them for this world is the memory of what they once were and the 
projected effect of what they did when living. Put all these 
natural facts together and you get something of an idea of what 
death, the great reality, that awaits every one of us, means. 

These we say are sad and ominous facts. And yet I know not 
after all whether they are so sad, unless we be content to come 
under the baleful dominion of an exaggerated and utterly unbib- 
lical view of the place and importance of death in our lives. With 
many people, in belief and practice, death is assigned an import- 
ance which it does not have either in the Bible or the nature of 
things. Many men mark on their charts a terra incognita beyond 
the grave and wish to pay no attention to that region. Their 
common ideas and fears of death are more pagan than Christian. 
It is a vague affair in their minds with much in it that is repulsive, 
and accordingly they would keep their thoughts from it as far as 
possible. Death to many men is the blank wall around life beyond 
which they look or plan for nothing ; an abrupt chasm at the end 
of ill paths; nature *s final contradiction of man's hopes, the 



I 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH gl 

realization of his fears. An uncertainty is always unpleasant to 
dwell upon, and if you put a not inconsiderable element of fearful 
possibilities into the uncertainty, then you make it still more 
odious. It is this uncertain future with its dim forebodings which 
makes the mass of men dread death. The uncertainty is the result 
of the condition of ignorance in which men keep themselves in 
spite of God's light offered them, and the forebodings on the 
result of sin recognized by the conscience, and suggesting by the 
uniform constitution of the soul the consequent punishment. The 
great majority of men have settled down to look upon death as a 
monster, and for much of their time on the earth have excluded 
the painful subject from their thoughts by absorbing themselves 
in the affairs of this present life. No age or nation can produce 
an exception to this natural hostility between man and death. 

But all this, my friends, is contrary to Scripture. You are 
much mistaken in putting such a character as you do upon death 
physically considered, for it is not made the important thing, in 
our Bible, nor does it hold the first place in the economy of 
redemption. The Bible assigns a subordinate place to the king of 
terrors, and it nowhere elevates death to the rank of the supreme 
and final transaction between man and his Maker. The crisis in 
any soul's history is not, in the Bible, the death of the body. In 
the light of the New Testament doctrine of the resurrection and 
eternal life, physical death does not cease to be looked upon as an 
event that awaiteth every soul of man ; but it does cease to be a 
thing of terror, the final thing, and as an utter and impassable 
chasm across the continuity of life. The dread and supreme fact 
of death is thus susceptible of illumination, and accordingly we 
have the Lord's own apostle saying in our text — "I would not 
have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are fallen 
asleep. ' ' I have dwelt thus far upon the exaggerated and unbib- 
lical view of the place and function of natural death, in order to 
prepare the way for several of those supreme considerations which 



g2 FUNERAL SERMONS 

will serve us in the illumination of such a certain fact as our 
final dissolution. There is something better for us than a pro- 
longed endurance of a restless and unhappy existence through 
fear of a slain enemy. 

1st. Let me say then, in the first place, that death is illumin- 
ated when we remember the unappeasable desire of men — of all 
men — for immortality ; that there is in men— in all men — a certain 
intuitive presumption of the indestructible personality of man. 

Four questions have been asked everywhere and in all ages: 
(1) Is there a God? (2) How ought man to live? (3) How can 
the consciousness of guilt be appeased? (4) Does death end all? 
These questions, and the answers they have received, summarize 
the religious history of mankind. Can it be that man, who is 
thrilled with deathless aspirations, shall fall as the leaves fall? 

Immanuel Kant said that it is the business of philosophy to 
answer three questions: (1) What may I know? (2) What ought 
I to do? (3) For what may I hope? Attempts to answer these 
questions summarize all the world's philosophy from Plato to 
Herbert Spencer. ''For what may I hope," is one of Kant's ques- 
tions; but centuries before Kant, and far back in the dawn of 
history, Job, as he pondered on the same unending problems, 
cried out: ''If a man die, shall he live again?" That is the one 
question which will never go down. I ask it; you ask it; every 
man asks it with unappeasable eagerness. If man is to die at last 
like a dog why should he live like an angel? If death ends all, 
then it would be difficult to prove that the barbarous philosophy 
of life that says, "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die," is 
not the true philosophy of life. But we have a consciousness of 
something within us that has about it the very property of death- 
lessness. And just that consciousness, my friends, in our hour of 
high access to God, we sometimes do have and there is in us a 
deep, full sense that we cannot die, because there is in us, and 
of ius, something to which death has no relevance. It is only by 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH g3 

having within us something that is immortal, and having it in 
such fulness that it lies as a great wealthy fact in our conscious- 
ness, that we are delivered from the bondage of fear, and are set 
in the pleasant prospect of the things to come. 

There are physical facts and there are mental facts. The 
physical facts prove that a nature of things exists. The mental 
facts prove that there are mental endowments. To deny either 
of these statements would be to ignore the universal conviction of 
mankind and to strike reason in the face. But are there no spir- 
itual facts as well? The world-wide consciousness of mankind, 
the testimony of human history is the affirmation to the question. 
Men talk of tender conscience, of hatred for all evil and vileness, 
of the loving of all things beautiful and good. What are such 
factors in human life and aspiration? But if there be spiritual 
facts, there must be a spiritual nature. And this spiritual nature 
has needs peculiar to itself cravings higher even than those of the 
intellect, aspirations reaching out far beyond the kingdom of 
nature. Man's harmony with the world is never complete. His 
heart constantly throbs with unsatisfied desires. Amid conscious 
infirmity, under sentence of death, there is ever a feeling after if 
happily he may find his home, a knowledge more satisfying, a 
welcome more cordial and a resting-place more permanent and 
restful than any this earth has afforded. The question is this, Has 
no provision been made for such facts? Is there no answer to 
Kant's question, "For what may I hope?" Is the racer in life 
to reach no goal? Is the voyager to the future to be stranded 
and to go down in a sea whose caverns are dark with doubt and 
uncertainty? Is the better and higher nature of man to be van- 
quished in the hour of death? The assertion of even such a possi- 
bility, my friends, can be of no possible use to you and me. Such 
an assertion but mocks our deepest convictions, laughs at our 
sense of moral quiet and shames the deepest longings of our souls. 
The soul's immateriality, and the soul's longings, and the soul's 



84 FUNEEAL SEEMONS 

capabilities would seem to indicate possibilities of development 
for which there is manifestly no room in this earthly life. They 
do so indicate, and if there be no affirmative answer, no definite 
and satisfactory answer to Kant's question, and Job's question, 
then man's works are greater than man's self — then are the 
pyramids grander than their builders; then were it better to be 
an oak in yonder forest than to be Wm. E. Gladstone. 

But a few years ago, and near the same time, there passed 
away from the earth two of the leading names in the scientific 
annals of our times — Prof. Clifford and Prof. Maxwell. They 
were not only widely learned men but both genial, kindly and 
loving souls. Professor Clifford sang no song of triumph because 
as he personally said, he had no song to sing. He believed that 
man had come here as the fatal working out of sightless and 
ungoverned forces, and that he was the result of a thousand 
aimless energies. Prof. Maxwell on the other hand, believed man 
to be a son of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ, in whom 
was lodged the sovereignty of the King over all. Prof. Clifford 
believed that no personal immortality attaches to man — that the 
longings and aspirations of which I have spoken, are but lies in 
our being and the phantoms of our lives. Prof. Maxwell believed 
that manhood was filled with divinely loaded energies, that it 
shall go on forever, that a limitless eternity hangs over all men, 
and that it is filled with a voice which says — ''He that over- 
cometh shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he shall 
be my son." Professor Clifford's creed had this for comfort and 
strength — ''Beloved now are we the results of force and it doth 
not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when the 
changes come, we shall be like these forces, for of them we come 
and into them at last we go ; man is the gift of force and the end 
of force is death." Professor Maxwell's creed is an assertion of 
the lordship of life over death. It is a song of triumph and a shout 
of victory. It is this — "Beloved now are we the sons of God, and 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 85 

it doth not yet appear wHat we shall be, but we know that when 
he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he 
is." I know not what to say to the man who does not recognize 
and feel the difference in these creeds, as answers to the deep 
questionings of the human soul. This, my brethren, is our conso- 
lation, this our confidence, our inspiration and our hope — that 
we walk this earth as the kings of nature, and as the prophets 
of another world ; that we are chosen from our birth and called of 
God to be witnesses to the higher order of spirit, and to live as 
heirs of the kingdom of God. 

2nd. But to advance to stronger assurances and unquestion- 
able certainties, let me say, that death is illuminated by reading 
into it the fact of the Evangelical history. 

There is in much of the world's literature, and in current 
speech, so much in recognition of a better life, and a more restful 
and holy life, that men forget sometimes that the fertile ground 
of all such expectation, and the fruitful fountain of all such con- 
solation, is the Gospel. We know of no one else but the Lord from 
heaven that has brought life and immortality to light; so that 
any just discourse upon such a theme must needs begin and end 
with Christ. Sin it was that caused the natural possibility of 
mortality to pass into the certainty of death for man. But never- 
theless, man is to work out his time here and to pass through 
death as being not necessarily subject to death, but bom under 
the higher law of the spirit and with the fact of eternal life 
always before him. If we are to learn anything from the mani- 
festation of Christ after his crucifixion, it is this, if we have need 
to learn it, that over the man, the spirit which thinks and feels 
and loves and which is in turn loved and trusted and honored, 
death has no control. 

To the question: ''If a man die shall he live again?" there is 
nothing in nature which renders a distinct answer. All that is 
taught, for example, by the seed corn cast into the ground, and 



86 FUNERAL SERMONS 

from which the blade appears next spring, is the continuity of 
life. The change that takes place in the seed no eye, no micro- 
scope, no chemical analysis can trace. It is an enigma, and from 
an enigma no clear and satisfactory truth can be drawn. Nor 
have philosophers succeeded by the process called logic, any bet- 
ter in satisfactorily proving immortality. Plato 's splendid efforts 
are not entirely convincing, and the phoenix bird which rose from 
the ashes of the ancient funeral pyres was but a delusion. The 
Christian doctrine of immortality is not a surmise ; it is not an 
inference from certain facts and appearances in nature that hap- 
pen to look in that direction; it is not a wish pushed to the 
point of becoming an opinion. The doctrine of immortality was 
first a fact in the life of our divine Lord and we are entered into 
participation in that fact because of our participation in the life 
of our Lord. Whatever the longings and hopes and guesses as to 
the future life, the resurrection of our Lord for the first time sets 
all questions as to the future and the life after death at rest. If 
he be alive from the dead, then have we a demonstration that 
death has not absolute power, and that if it could not hold him 
who was slain on the tree, then who may hold such as Christ bids 
to arise from the dead? The resurrection of Christ demonstrates 
that there is a kind of life that death and the grave cannot do 
anything with, cannot handle it, nor do its pleasure upon it, nor 
in any way obstruct or embarrass it. 

That guarded tomb in Joseph's garden on the night of our 
Lord's crucifixion was the grave of his people's hopes; the open 
sepulchre from which the stone was rolled away on the morning 
of the third day was the birthplace of their immortality. Not 
since then has the tomb been so dark and forbidding. Christ did 
depart. He did return, and his very presence did proclaim that 
there is a father's heart in the universe and that that heart beats 
in sympathy with the sighing and sorrowing. Such an assuring 
pledge of the certainty of that immortal life as the resurrection 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 87 

of our Lord we saidly need. The sad plaint of John Stuart Mill 
shows us how that life is rayless, starless midnight without one 
voice of hope and cheer crying in the darkness, when there is no 
such assurance. The plaint of that gifted man is one of the sad- 
dest chapters in modern literature. Under the teaching of his 
father his young mind had been thoroughly emptied of God. In 
1830, at the age of twenty-four, he began a friendship, which he 
calls "the honor and chief blessing of his existence, as well as 
the source of a great part of all he attempted to do or hoped to 
effect thereafter for human improvement." He was introduced to 
the lady who after twenty years of friendship became his wife. 
With more than the usual enthusiasm of love, John Stuart Mill 
believed that he had found in her a combination of the finest 
qualities he had known in the greatest men. To her this philoso- 
pher gave himself with a devotion as fervent as was ever ren- 
dered the Virgin Mary by the most devout Romanist. "Who can 
read without emotion the dedication of his essay on Liberty — 
''To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the 
inspirer and in part the author of all that is best in my writings, 
the friend and wife whose exalted sense of truth and right was 
my strongest incitement, and whose approbation was my chief 
reward — I dedicate this volume. . . . Were I but capable of 
interpreting to the world one-half the great thoughts and noble 
feelings which are buried in her grave, I should be the medium 
of a greater benefit to it than is ever likely to arise from any- 
thing that I can write unprompted and unassisted by her all but 
unrivaled wisdom." In 1851, Stuart Mill was married to her in 
whose mind he could "detect no mixture of error." For seven 
and a half years only did they live together, and then she was 
taken to the God in whom she also did not believe. The memory 
of that woman became the strong man's religion. She had been 
laid to rest in the south of Prance, in sunny Avignon, and year 
by year this remorseless logician, this acute philosopher, went 



88 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



thither and wept over her grave. There he walked amid the 
cypress trees, and looking vainly to the east and the west, the 
north and the south, he sent forth an exceeding great and bitter 
cry which seems like an echo of Mary's voice from the empty 
tomb of her Lord in Joseph's garden — ''They have taken away 
my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." 

You may ask, "What does all this mean?" It means this — 
that here was a man, a son of the living God living upon the 
recollection of a brief gladness that could never come back, for I 
would have you to remember that no flower of hope bloomed on 
that grave in the south of France to which Mill made his sorrow^- 
ful journeyings. I revert to the words of our text, "I would not 
have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are 
fallen asleep," and couple them with the words of the same 
apostle of the Lord — "If in this life only we have hope we are 
of all men most miserable." "Because I live, ye shall live also." 
That is the statement of a great fact that draws another great 
fact in its train. My immortality is the immortal Christ in me. 
That is the Christian doctrine of immortality, so that death means 
no more to me, if Christ lives in me, than it meant to Christ 
himself. That is the great point in Christ's address to Martha, 
"Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." We 
have not only the fact of our Lord's rising from the dead, but 
also the doctrinal import of that fact with respect to believers. 
Christ has risen in a certain character and relation as "the first 
fruits of them that slept." A vast harvest is in the future, of 
which he is the first fruits and pledge of the full ingathering. 
Previous resurrections occurred, but in no sense were they "first 
fruits." They involved no idea of a divine covenant, and had no 
representation or mediatorial character. The Scriptures declare 
that "God is not the God of the dead but of the living," and we 
may credit that revelation which bids us believe that God's own 
thought is to bring life to everlasting triumph in some final 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 89 

deliverance from death, and that the living God will not pause 
nor tarry until he raises from this earth a race of the children 
of God, capable of living forever in unison with himself and his 
creation. 

Let me know beyond a doubt that Jesus folded the napkin in 
that sepulchre in Joseph's garden, burst the bars of death and 
led captivity captive, and then I know that the atonement is per- 
fected, that sin may be clutched, that Satan may be conquered, 
that God may be reconciled, and that eternal life may be made 
accessible to every man's faith and hope, that the body, the temple 
of the Holy Ghost, is sacred, and that by and by, our Lord will 
raise it up, and shall fashion it anew that it may be conformed 
to the body of his glory, according to the mighty working where- 
by he is able to subdue all things unto himself. 

I turn aside here from the pursuit of this inviting theme to 
a conclusion or two befitting the greatness and gladness of our 
subject. My sermon has been one of assurance regarding that 
eternal life which is declared to be a gift of God. Now then if 
these things be so, it follows that our true life consists in our 
coming at once, in our own souls, into the right and fullest pos- 
sible correspondence with that which is the real and eternal ele- 
ment of life. We are made to live in harmony with all good, 
beautiful, and true things, or in communion with God. 

(1.) Accordingly my first conclusion from our subject is one 
of admonition regarding the ordering of our lives in view of these 
supreme facts. The man who has not a clear belief in a future 
life based upon such assurance as I have named, can have no 
strong sense of duty. The great truths involved in our subject are 
so wrought into our faith and sensibilities that they wield the 
man who ardentlj^ believes them. They are mysteriously gifted 
with a power of their own. The teaching of the Bible is that what, 
as to condition and destiny, we are to be hereafter, depends upon 
what, as to character, we are here. The two lives are thus united 



90 FUNERAL SERMONS 

not simply as being successive, but in the order of moral sequence 
as well. This, according to the Bible, is the constitution of things 
which God has adopted, and which we cannot vacate or change. 
We are subject to it by the irreversible necessity of a divine 
appointment, and whether we heed it or not, act wisely in view 
of it or not, the appointment remains the same. It is true that, 
under this appointment, ''whatsoever a man soweth that shall 
he also reap." It is true that "he that soweth to his flesh shall 
of the flesh reap corruption" and that "he that soweth to the 
Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. ' ' The Bible is full 
of this idea, and in the light of it is constantly sounding its 
warnings in the hearing of men. The man who assumes the 
contrary, or practically conducts life as if the reverse were true, 
takes upon himself an awful hazard. He denies, when he ought 
to admit, and trifles when he ought to be solemn. It is a practical 
heresy to deny that what a man thinks upon such great themes 
as the future life and his personal immortality, has nothing to 
do with the formation of his character and the ordering of his 
conduct. Any degree of presumption that we are here acting for 
eternity ought to be practically as conclusive as the most absolute 
demonstration. 

In one of her moral fables Jane Taylor gives an account of the 
arrival and sojourn on this earth of a former inhabitant of the 
planet Venus. He was one of a race like ours, apparently in all 
respects human, except that he had never heard of death. No 
hint of it came to him until after he had resided several weeks 
in this world, and had in the meantime been introduced to all the 
gayeties of society and instructed in the best means of making 
money. His emotions at the discovery that all men must die, and 
the amazement that overcame him at the worldliness of creatures 
with such a destiny, and their indifference to the future, are 
vividly portrayed in the story. He was appalled at the earthly 
insensibility and lack of preparation for death. The admonition 



THE ILLUMINATION OF DEATH 91 

of our subject, my friends, is to watchfulness and fidelity in the 
ordering of our lives. ''Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look 
for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, 
without spot and blameless." Thus shall we weigh anchor and put 
out hopefully for eternity. Tennyson has given it well in ''Cross- 
ing the Bar": 

' ' Sunset and evening star, 

And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 
When I put out to sea. 

* ' But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 
Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 
Turns again home. 

'' Twilight and evening bell, 
And after that the dark: 
And may there be no sadness of farewell, 
When I embark. 

*'For though from out our bourne of time and place. 
The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face 
When I have crossed the bar.'' 

2. My second conclusion from our subject is the assurance of 
Christian hope regarding our cherished dead who have fallen 
asleep. 

Not long ago, on a beautiful day, when the sun was soft, the 
skies translucent and the air laden with fragrance, I stood with a 
little company of friends, in our cemetery. A wife and mother 
was being laid to rest. It was a sight often seen, and yet one to 
which we can never become reconciled. There was the narrow 
grave, the long box, the mound with flowers that would soon 
wither and the "dust to dust, and ashes to ashes." How common 
that sight has become, for all these things have been going on for 



92 FUNERAL SERMONS 

thousands of years. In view of such facts certain teachers in our 
day have mustered courage to say only this: ''We don't know; 
there must we leave it." But that satisfies no one. It is no 
panacea for sad hearts and weeping eyes. Immanuel Kant said 
it was the business of philosophy to answer the question, ''For 
what may I hope?" It is the Gospel and not philosophy that 
answers that question that never goes down. What says Jesus 
Christ about the mystery of death? Never do his great words 
thrill with so divine a music. This universe is not simply space 
dotted with worlds held together by invisible attractions. Listen 
— ''In my Father's house are many mansions," many rooms. 
Father; house; many rooms; dying, going from one room into 
another. Let not your heart be troubled; death is nothing to 
dread. This is a sample of the answers Jesus Christ brings to 
such questions. 

And it is only, my friends, when such experiences are made 
our own that we come to know the fineness and sweetness of these 
answers. There is a time in many lives when the whole being is 
absorbed and apparently satisfied in the love of others at their 
side. But this time is brief. The intensity of such love is the 
measure of the pain it must entail on the survivor. All the rev- 
erence and sanctity of love for parents; all the growing into 
oneness, and the cleaving of soul to soul which hallow married 
life ; all the joy of being trusted by fair children, is like the brief 
sunshine which burns down into the chilly evening and then 
into the cold night. 

There is no more pathetic sight in this world than a new-made 
grave. It is the mournful termination of human toil, the end of 
man's hot ambitions and strenuous exertions. If the assurances 
of our faith which we have considered, be no assurance, then our 
march of the sleeping-places where dark yew trees cast their 
shadoAvs and lettered stones betray the impotence of grief is 
always a "dead march" along an uncheered via dolorosa; then 



THE ILLUMINATION OP DEATH 93 

the resting-places of our cherished dead are become gloomy and 
forbidding prisons; then those words of hope chiseled on tomb- 
stones in every churchyard of Christendom have no meaning, 
and the flowers which symbolize our hope, planted on the graves 
of our departed, are without significance. But faith in Christ is 
faith in him who said, ''Thy brother shall rise again." "I am 
the resurrection and the life," It is a faith which casts the soft 
light of hope on ancient graves, and on the newest turf which 
covers such as have gone hence. 

There is a pretty little story of a Hindoo mother who went 
hither and thither with her babe in her arms, crying to neighbors 
to help her: 

*' Something to heal my darling's heart," she cried. 

'*A grain of mustard seed/' the sage replied, 
''Found where none old or young has ever died, 

Will cure the pain you carry in your side." 

The eager mother wandered east and west, but found not the 
magic seed. Everywhere death had been before her. Let it be 
even so, beloved; but we who believe in the risen Lord are not 
hopeless. Our precious dead are safe. This we know, they have 
gone to be with Christ, through whom we have the gift of eternal 
life, and that involves everything we could wish for them. They 
can nevermore be vexed or agonized with suspense or blighted by 
sickness or death. True it is, that we miss them, and at times are 
inexpressibly lonesome without them; and yet our grief is never 
a hopeless grief because our Lord has risen and lives forever- 
more, and has the keys of death and hell, and because we read 
into their departure the glad assurances of our Lord's Gospel. 
And this, my friends, is great gain. "I am come," said our Lord, 
"that they might have life, and that they might have it more 
abundantly." "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" 
is his perpetual assurance. "If a man keep my sayings he shall 
never see death," is his promise. "He that heareth my word and 



94 FUNERAL SERMONS 

believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not 
come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life." 
Therefore, beloved, ^ ' I would not have you to be ignorant concerning 
them which are fallen asleep." We have seen the risen Christ and 
heard his words, wherefore let us go on and live. 

"I shall arise! What time, what circuit first, I ask not; 
In sometime — his good time — I shall arise; 

* * * * in his good time.*' 



THE MYSTERY OF DEATH IS SOLVED 
By Rev. J. W. Schillinger 

"The wages of sin is death; hut the gift of God is eternal life 
through Jesus Christ our Lord." — Rom. 6: 23. 

Occasian: For the Father of a Family, and a Faithful Member 

of the Church 

Dear Christian Friends, and especially sorrowing Family of 
the departed Brother: 

One of the most wonderful mysteries in this world is the 
mystery of life. We see evidences of it on all sides. In every 
sprouting seed and growing plant, in every animal, in every 
human being, we see its manifestation. In every one of God's 
creatures which lives and moves there is an active principle 
which we call life, which, however, no man is able to compre- 
hend or explain. The folly of the man who refuses to believe what 
he cannot understand is evident here. He carries in his own body 
an active principle called life which he dare not deny, and yet 
which he cannot understand. When we view this mystery of life 
which surrounds us in this world and which we carry in our very 
being, it should impress upon us the solemn truth that the Crea- 
tor is vastly greater and wiser than the creature. 

Almost equally wonderful and incomprehensible is the mystery 
of death. What is death? Whence did it come into this world? 
How did death with its destroying power manage to get into a 
creation which God made so perfect and beautiful? How can we 
escape death? What is the state of man after death? These are 
some of the troublesome questions which have baffled the minds 

95 



96 FUNERAL SERMONS 

of men for many centuries. Death is a mystery. For the man whose 
mind has not been enlightened by God's Word it remains a grim 
and awful mystery. In the text which we have before us today 
God has given us a perfect solution for this mystery. As we now 
stand in the presence of death, and our souls are troubled by the 
mystery in which it is wrapped, it should fill us with comfort 
and joy to hear that : 

The Mystery of Death is Solved 

1. The Origin of Death is revealed: The origin of death has 
always been one of its mysteries. How is the presence of such a 
horrid monster as death in this world consistent with the wisdom 
and goodness of God? We know that ''God is love." Out of pure 
love he created this world and everything that is in it. He did it 
all also in supreme wisdom. After he had finished his creation he 
said that it was all very good. How then did death get into it to 
ruin it all ? Why did God ever permit death to come and turn all 
of man's happiness into wretchedness, and change this world 
which was a paradise into a vale of tears? 

In their efforts to solve this mystery men have fallen into 
grave errors. Some have tried to tell us that death is simply a 
natural end to man's life in this world. It is not a sad thing, 
they say, but a perfectly natural thing. It was God's will from the 
beginning that man's life should end in this manner. Just as at 
harvest time the golden grain, having become ripe, is gathered in, 
so man's life, having run its course, comes to a natural end. A 
reply to such a theory is hardly necessary. The human heart 
instinctively rejects it. You, dear friends, experience on such an 
occasion as this that death is a painful thing. 

You saw the sufferings of our dear brother before he fell 
asleep. You know that the rending of his soul from the body 
was painful. You know the sorrow of your own hearts over the 
separation which you have experienced. It must seem like mock- 



THE MYSTERY OF DEATH SOLVED 97 

ery to you for anyone to tell you that death is simply a natural 
event and not to be grieved over. Your own heart tells you that 
such an event as this is contrary to the original- plans of a good 
and wise God. You instinctively feel that if God's original plans 
for the happiness of our race had been carried out death would 
never have come into this world. 

Others, in their zeal to reconcile the existing state of affairs 
with the goodness of God, have denied death entirely. They tell 
us that sin and death actually do not exist, that they are simply 
creatures of man's perverted imagination. You, the sorrowing 
family of this departed brother, know by your own experience 
that such a theory is absurd. The man who can believe such 
theorizing must have lost his reason. 

How then shall we solve this troublesome question with regard 
to the origin of death? Our text gives us the solution. It says: 
''The wages of sin is death." This explains it all. It was not 
God's plan from the beginning that death should come into this 
world. It was his intention that man should live forever and be 
eternally happy in the paradise of this earth. Death was a thing 
entirely foreign to God's original work of creation. But man 
sinned. Of his own free will he permitted himself to be deceived 
by Satan. He placed his will in contradiction to the will of God, 
and the result was that this horrid contradiction to all of God's 
beautiful creation, death, came into this world. On the very day 
that man committed that sin he plunged himself into spiritual 
death. He separated himself from God. The natural consequence 
of this was bodily death, the separation of the soul from the 
body. And unless the course of events were staid by the grace of 
God, the end of it all would be eternal death, the eternal separa- 
tion of the soul from God. By man's sin he brought death also 
upon all creation. All nature was cursed for man's sake. God's 
creatures began to fall victims of disease and accident ; they 
began to destroy and devour one another. Ever since that sad 



98 FUNERAL SERMONS 

day when man rebelled against God, death has reigned supreme 
in this world. On the day of our birth already we begin to die. The 
infirmities which are the harbingers of death appear. They grow 
in strength and daily gain more control over us until we sink' 
into the grave. The entire human race is a dying race. The entire 
earth is one vast cemetery. One after another, we carry one 
another to the grave. All of God's wonderful, beautiful creation 
is a dying creation. It has all been brought about by man's sin. 

The presence of death before us today should therefore be a 
call to repentance. Here we are forcibly reminded of our sinful- 
ness. Death stands before our eyes; and we know that death is 
the wages of sin. Surely this must move us to examine ourselves 
and see the sinfulness of our hearts and lives. Here we see also 
what a dreadful thing sin must be in God's sight. So dreadful it 
is that it plunges the whole creation into death. Surely this must 
move us to repent with all our hearts and turn from sin. 

For your comfort, dear friends, you have the assurance that 
this dear brother before he departed had learned this lesson from 
death. He knew that death stood before him. He believed the 
words of Holy Scripture, that death is the wages of sin. In death 
he saw a reminder of his own sinfulness. Not that he was a sin- 
ner above others ; for he led a truly Christian life ; and we all may 
take his life as a model. But he never trusted in the Christian 
life which he led. He knew his own sinfulness too well for that. 
His approaching death reminded him of his sinfulness. It moved 
him to renew his repentance. On his death-bed he made humble 
confession, as he had done so often before. He confessed his 
faith in Christ. He received the absolution, and was comforted 
with the holy supper of our Savior's body and blood. Death 
which stood before him moved him to repentance; and of that 
repentance he is now enjoying the fruits. 

2. The Way of Deliverance from Death is opened: How can 
I escape death? The human mind has ever concerned itself with 



THE MYSTERY OF DEATH SOLVED 99 

this troublesome question. Men stay away from death as long as 
they can. When they see death coming near them, they flee from 
it as far as their strength carries them. They do everything in 
their power to prolong life. All of the inventions which the 
learning and science of men can produce have been utilized to 
overcome the ravages of death. Religions have been invented by 
man which claim to offer a way of escape from death. In times 
of old there were fabled fountains of perpetual youth, the creat- 
ures of man's imagination; and many a man spent his fortune 
and wore out his life searching for such a fountain in the wilder- 
ness. But all in vain. No mere man has ever yet solved the 
mystery, how to escape death. 

But is there then no escape from death? Yes, the mystery 
is solved. God himself has solved it for us. He has pointed us to 
the tree of life, that we may eat of its fruits and live forever. 
He has pointed us to the fountain of life, that we may bathe in 
its waters and escape death. Let us hear the solution for the 
mystery of death as it is given us in our text. *'But the gift of 
God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

To receive eternal life means to escape death entirely. This, 
our text says, is a gift of God. God is the only one who has 
power over death. Death tyrannizes over all others; but God is 
the Lord over death. When God speaks the word, death must 
obey. It is in the hand of God alone to deliver us from death 
entirely and grant us eternal life. 

Let us now hear from our text how God delivers us from 
death. It is all contained in these words: "Through Jesus Christ 
our Lord." ''The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is 
the law." Jesus by his perfect life in this world entirely fulfilled 
the law of God for us. Thereby he robbed sin of its power. He 
shed his precious blood in order to atone for the sins of the 
world and thereby robbed death of its sting. He arose from the 
grave and thereby triumphed over death. He made himself the 



100 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Master and Lord over death. He destroyed death for us. ''0 
death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The 
sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But 
thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord 
Jesus Christ." 

It remains for us to accept in true faith this victory over 
death which Christ won for us. If we do so we are delivered from 
death. The Savior himself says: ''I am the resurrection and the 
life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." 
A bodily death indeed still awaits even those who believe in 
Christ. But it is hardly any more worthy of the name death. 
It has become merely a means of delivering us from the tribula- 
tions of this earthly life. It has become simply a gateway by 
which we pass from this wretched life here below into the glories 
of the eternal life above. This bodily death is no longer our 
enemy. It has become a dear friend unto us ; for it is the means 
through which we enter into heaven. Death may sometimes seem 
to be a dark and dismal gateway. When we examine it we find 
that the vines which entwine its pillars are covered with many 
cruel thorns. But when we open the gate and enter, we find that 
it leads into a most beautiful garden, the garden of God, paradise. 

Our dear brother who has now been taken from us had solved 
the mystery of death long before his departure. He was not 
afraid of death. He knew that God had given him the victory 
over death through Jesus Christ his Lord. He had triumphed over 
death. When the hour came for him to depart he peacefully fell 
asleep in the full assurance that he was going home to be with his 
heavenly Father. A Christian father once lay dying. His chil- 
dren, all grown to manhood and womanhood, stood around him 
weeping. He said to them: ''My dear children, when you were 
little ones I often carried you up to bed and kissed you good- 
night as I laid you to rest. Were you afraid then?" The childreD 



THE MYSTERY OF DEATH SOLVED IQl 

answered: "No, father, we were not afraid. We knew that we 
were going to sleep just for the night, and that we would awaken 
again in the morning to enjoy your love and tender care." 
''Just so," the father replied, ''my Heavenly Father is now 
laying me to sleep. I am not afraid. There is no cause for fear or 
sadness. I will peacefully sleep during the night ; on the glorious 
resurrection morning I will awaken again to enjoy the loving 
kindness of my Heavenly Father forever." 

Such was the death of our dear brother. He was not afraid of 
death; for he had solved the mystery of death. He knew that a 
complete deliverance from death was his through Christ Jesus. 
Even in his death he was triumphant over death. 

Dear friends, let his faith be your comfort. Imitate him also in 
his faith. Trust in God and in Jesus Christ your Savior as he did. 
Like him show your faith also in your manner of life. 

Death may still have many mysteries for you, mysteries which 
we cannot solve now. You may ask: Why was it done just so? 
Why did God take our beloved father away from us just at this time 
when we still stood so much in need of him? We know that he is 
much happier now; but he certainly would have been willing to 
live with us yet for many years. Why did not God permit him to 
stay with us? Why did God require him to endure such severe 
sufferings before his departure? These things we cannot answer. 
These are mysteries. But only believe. J*ut all of your trust in 
God and trust all things in his hands. The day will finally come 
when you shall be reunited with this dear brother and father in 
the presence of God in glory. On that great day you shall see all 
of these things clearly. Then all of the mysteries of death will be 
solved. Amen. 



THE WORD OP GOD AS THE ONLY SOURCE OP TRUE 
COMPORT IN APFLICTION 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in 
mine affliction." — Psalm 119: 92. 

Occasion: For a Christian Husband, Father and Brother 

Dear Christians and Mourning Ftiends : 

We often meet in the house of God. In fact we can truly say 
with the psalmist: ''How amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord of 
hosts ! My soul longeth, yea, even f ainteth for the courts of the 
Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God" (Ps. 
84: 1, 2). But today our meeting here is not a joyful one. We 
have been called together by the voice of death. We have met for 
a funeral service. Our object in coming here is not simply to do 
honor to the memory of the departed and to express our sympa- 
thy with his bereaved family but to ojffer them true comfort as 
this flows from the never-failing fountain of God^s Word. What 
would we do in the face of death without the Word of God ? Our 
text says: "Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then 
have perished in mine affliction." And this well expresses the 
experience of every mourning Christian. We know, my friends, 
that this is a sad hour for you. To bid a last farewell to a loving 
husband, a kind father and an affectionate brother and son is no 
easy task. No wonder that your eyes overflow with tears and 
your hearts bleed. But you are not without comfort in this hour 
of affliction. God's Word is full of comfort to mourning Chris- 
tians. Yes, it is the only source of all true comfort. Let me direct 
your attention today to 

102 



WORD OF GOD SOURCE OF COMFORT IQS 

The Word of God as the Only Source of True Comfort in 

Affliction 

In considering this subject let me endeavor to show you 

I. How true this is, and 
II. To what it should move us. 



It is not unusual, when death has visited a home, for friends, 
neighbors and relatives to gather in and offer sympathy and 
comfort. Some will say: ''Suffering is inevitable in this imperfect 
world. It is something we must expect. It comes in the ordinary 
course of nature. We must expect to part sooner or later. We 
cannot live always." Others will remind you of the fact that 
suffering is universal. No one escapes it entirely, although some 
seem to suffer more than others. Yours is the common experience 
of all men. You are no exception to the general rule. Yea, others 
must even carry heavier loads than you. If you knew what others 
suffer you would consider your own load light. Then again, you 
will be reminded of the fact that time heals all wounds. You will 
not always feel as sad as you do now. In time your sorrow will 
cease, at least in part, and you will again be able to enjoy your- 
selves. The wounds will heal, although they may leave a scar. 

But I hear you say: There is little comfort in all this. You 
feel like saying as Job did to his friends : ' ' Miserable comforters 
are ye all" (Job 16: 2). There is little or no comfort in all such 
considerations. They are truths that cannot be denied, but they 
leave the heart cold. It would be sad indeed if we had nothing 
better to offer our mourning friends today. This is no balm for 
bleeding hearts. 

But thanks be to God we have something better to offer when 
death enters a Christian home. God in his Word offers true com- 
fort ; comfort which really conjf orts, balm that heals. In the first 



104 



FUNEEAL SERMONS 



place it assures us that those who die in the faith of Jesus are not 
lost but saved. The world may say: You have lost a husband, 
brother, father, son. But God's Word says : '' Blessed are the dead 
which die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them" 
(Rev. 14: 13). We mourn over our dead but if we could realize 
that those who die in the true faith are at home with the Lord 
and inexpressibly happy we would shed no tears but those of joy. 
The Savior said to the malefactor on the cross beside him : * ' This 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Paradise is heaven, a 
place of perfect and eternal happiness. ''God shall wipe away all 
tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither 
sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the 
former things are passed away" (Rev. 21: 4). Our loss is their 
gain. They have reached the end of life's pilgrimage and have 
entered into the rest of God's children. Their warfare is over 
and they now enjoy the victory for which they strove. Their 
labors are at an end and they enjoy sweet rest in heaven. 

We lay the mortal bodies of our beloved ones in the grave 
where they must return to dust and ashes ; for ''Dust thou art and 
unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3: 19). Since the fall, this is 
the inexorable law of nature. When our friends die we must 
hasten to bury their remains for in but a few days they would be 
objects of abhorrence and a menace to all who came in contact 
with them. But God's Word offers us the blessed comfort that 
the dead shall arise, and accordingly we confess in the Creed: "I 
believe in the resurrection of the body." The apostle says: "The 
dead in Christ shall arise" (I Thess. 4: 16). The Savior himself 
says: "The hour is coming in which all that are in the graves 
shall hear his voice and shall come forth, they that have done 
good unto the resurrection of life" (John 5: 28, 29). This is not 
the last time you expect to look upon the face of your beloved. 
You hope to see him again at the right hand of the Lord on that 



WORD OF GOD SOURCE OF COMFORT 105 

last great day when death and the grave shall give up their prey. 
And with what bodies will they arise ? Not with such poor, sickly, 
wasted bodies as they had in this world, but with glorified 
bodies. St. Paul says: "For our conversation is in heaven, from 
whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who 
shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his 
glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is 
able to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil 3: 21). 

Then besides this, God's Word assures us that whatever befalls 
us in this world must, by the overruling providence of God, be 
for our good. For ' ' all things work together for good to them that 
love God" (Rom. 8: 28). When Joseph's brethren sold him into 
slavery in Egypt it must have seemed about the worst thing that 
could have befallen him, and yet years after he could cheerfully 
say: "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good" 
(Gen. 50: 20). We are, even in our saddest experiences, under 
God's all- wise and merciful providence. He never allows us to be 
tempted above what we are able to bear. He can bring good out 
of evil. What seem our most painful experiences will in the end 
turn out to be our greatest blessings. God may lay the rod of 
affliction upon us, but he never does so from hatred but rather 
from love. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and 
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Heb. 12: 6). So God's 
Word is full of rich comfort in affliction, yea, it is the only source 
of all true comfort. 

Having seen how true this is, let us now also in the second 
place consider: 

II. 

To what it should move us: First of all we should ourselves 
make faithful use of the Word of God when we are afflicted. 
What would you say of a person who is hungry and has plenty of 
food, good, nourishing food, but refuses to eat ? What would you 



X06 rUNERAL SERMONS 

say of a person who is sick and has the proper remedy to cure 
his diseases but fails to apply it ? Would not this be the height of 
folly ? Then what else are true Christians doing when in affliction 
they fail to apply and take to heart the sweet comfort which 
God's Word offers them? My friends, it is but natural for us to 
weep and mourn when death separates us, even though but tem- 
porarily, from our loved ones. We are weak flesh and blood and 
cannot but feel sad when death tears asunder the tenderest bonds 
of blood and friendship. But let us not weep and mourn as 
though we had no hope. Let the infidel howl and lament. Let the 
atheist wring his hands in despair. Let those who live in the world 
without God despair in the face of death; for they are without 
hope and the future is full of dark forebodings. They tremble at 
what may possibly come after death. But such conduct does not 
become Christians who know and appreciate the sweet comfort 
which God's Word offers in the face of death. Present these pre- 
cious truths to your minds. Call to remembrance what you have 
been taught, what you have read of the Gospel promises, and the 
word of the Savior shall be fulfilled in your own experience: 
** Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted'* 
(Matt. 5:4). 

how anxious we should be to store our minds with the com- 
forting assurances of the Gospel so that in the day of trouble we 
may draw upon this never-failing source of true comfort. How 
careful we should be to read and hear the Word and above all to 
keep it, for: '' Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and 
keep it" (Luke 11: 28). How zealous we should be to have our 
children memorize such comforting passages of Scripture so that 
when their day of affliction comes, it may not find them comfort- 
less. The more thoroughly we live ourselves into the Word of 
God and make its truths our own, the better will we be able to 
withstand the fiery darts of Satan in the hour of trial. Do not 
allow the clouds of adversity to hide from you the smiling face 



WORD OF GOD SOURCE OF COMFORT 107 

of your heavenly Father; for "behind a frowning providence he 
hides a smiling face." 

Then there is another thing to which the fact that God's Word 
is the only source of true comfort in affliction should move us and 
that is to offer this comfort to our friends when they are in 
trouble. It does the troubled heart good to be assured of the 
sympathy of dear friends. It seems to lighten the load when 
others join in carrying it. Christians should not be cold and 
indifferent to each other's afflictions. We are all members one of 
another and "Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer 
with it" (I Cor. 12: 26). Any injury inflicted on any member of 
the body is felt by every other member. Let a little grain of dust 
fall into the eye and the whole body is disturbed in sympathy 
with the afflicted member. 

But let us do more than merely express our smpathy. Let 
us offer substantial comfort. Why should the pastor be the only 
one who is able to offer the comfort of the Word of God? Why 
should not one fellow Christian offer to another the cup of com- 
fort from the living fountain of the Gospel? Do not be timid 
about confessing your faith on such an occasion. Let the convic- 
tion of your heart find expression in words which will act as a 
healing balm to bleeding hearts. Our church members are too 
often slow to speak when it comes to comforting those who 
mourn over the death of their loved ones. They are like Job's 
friends of whom it is said that ' ' They sat down with him upon the 
ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto 
him: for they saw that his grief was very great" (Job 2: 13). 
If we have experienced the true comfort of the Word of God in 
our own hearts under affliction, let us not be slow to offer it to 
others. 

This is the object of our meeting here today. The congregation 
by the mouth of its pastor offers to our mourning friends the true 
comfort of God's Word. Let me assure you, dear friends, that I 



IQ^ FUNERAL SERMONS 

speak in the name of all your brethren and sisters when I say 
to you with the Savior: "Weep not" (Luke 7; 13). And words 
of comfort will be spoken from this pulpit Sunday after Sunday. 
See to it that you come to hear them. They will do you good. 
The preaching of the Gospel will help you bear your troubles 
more patiently. It will save you from hopeless despair. It is the 
day-star from on high lighting our way through this vale of tears 
until we reach the true home of God's children in heaven. 

"Blessed are the meek and contrite, 
Who in Jesus fall asleep, 
Blessed where the saints forever 
Their untiring vigils keep. 
They are from their labors resting, 
God has wiped away their tears. 
They are dwelling in the kingdom. 
Free from all their sins and fears." 

Amen. 



THE HEAVENLY EMIGRANT 
By Rev. Frederick B. Clausen 

"For we know that if our eartMy house of this tabernacle were dis- 
solved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal 
in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed 
upon with our house which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we 
shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, 
being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, 
that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought 
us for the selfsame thing is God, who hath also given unto us the earnest 
of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we 
are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by 
faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be 
absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we 
labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." — 
II Cor. 5: 1-9. 

Occasion: A middle-aged man whose consistent, Christian life 

greatly endeared him to his family and congregation and 

also won for him the respect of his business associates 

We are face to face with a great mystery. Question crowds 
question, but only bewilders, confuses and deepens the silent 
gloom. The pain-throbbing heart is hungering for comfort. Hu- 
man weakness and frailty so convincingly brought home, look 
for a rod and staff to lean upon. The American poet in his classic 
effusion counsels thus: 

''When thoughts of the last bitter hour come like a blight 
Over thy spirit, and sad images 
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, 
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, 

109 



IIQ FUNERAL SERMONS 

Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart, — 
Go forth, under the open sky, and list 
To Nature's teachings, while from all around — 
Eiarth, and her waters, and the depths of air, — 
Comes a still voice — Yet a few days, and thee 
The all-beholding sun shall see no more 

In all his course 

Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim 

Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again." 

I call this giving a stone for bread and scorpions for fish. But 
this is the philosophy of man, the creed of materialism, the only 
comfort (?) of unbelief. With relief we turn from man and 
nature to our Bible, and lo, "earth's shadows flee and heaven's 
bright morning breaks." For here in our text we have the reitera- 
tion of the blessed truth spread over all the pages of the Bible : 
1. There are no dead! Language is so confusing and often 
contradictory of the faith we confess. We, the person, the ego, 
must be dissociated from the body or form given for making 
self known and expressing self in this world of material things. 
This body or shell is swallowed up by the grave, but the immor- 
tal tenant, death, cannot harm; it can only serve him. We are 
met, not to mourn a death, but to sorrow for the temporary loss 
we have sustained by the removal from this world to heaven of 
a dear and esteemed person. He has emigrated from the vale of 
shadows, sorrows and disappointments to the highlands of un- 
clouded happiness and endless vision. Dead? Never! God, his 
Father, to whom he was given in holy baptism and whom he 
endeavored to serve in this world, has sent his beautiful mes- 
senger to invite him to the mansion which the Savior prepared 
for him and all who love his appearance. Therefore he was in a 
strait betwixt two : he loved us and could not ask to have the 
bonds of flesh cut which bound him to us. But he loved Jesus 
and would see him face to face and sing the praises of the Lamb 
with that great company on high which no man can number. 



THE HEAVENLY EMIGRANT HI 

And we also find ourselves in a strait betwixt two : We loved him. 
He was such a Christian gentleman. His place will be hard to 
fill. But is our love so selfish that it would bring him back to his 
suffering, to this world of sin, to all that cramps and keeps us 
from happiness? Come, let us think less of our loss and more 
of his gain. Take to heart the blessed comfort : 

''There is no death! The stars go down 
To rise upon some other shore, 
And bright in Heaven's jewelled crown 
They shine f orevermore. " 

2. Behold, he whom we mourn as dead, has moved, according 
to the inspired statement of the Apostle Paul, ^'from the earthly- 
house of this tabernacle to an house not made with hands, eternal 
in the heavens." This house crumbles and decays, the fire we 
call death consumes it, but not him, the person, the soul we loved. 

Paul speaks of the body as a tabernacle or tent. It is lan- 
guage conveying the sense of temporariness, weakness, lack of 
durability. Lest we forget, the great Apostle reminds us of the 
suffering and humiliation that this tabernacle of the body occa- 
sions. ''For in this Ave groan." "We that are in this tabernacle 
do groan, being burdened." Men suffer unspeakable agony and 
pain and most of these experiences arise from the body. The 
tabernacle is constantly decaying and exposing the spirit to the 
untoward world and the groans of the martyred spirit arise to 
heaven. From such tyranny and humiliation it must be redemp- 
tion to be released. Like the ancient Jews returning from the 
Babylonian exile, the heavenly emigrant, released from the thral- 
dom of the earthly tabernacle may sing: ''When the Lord turned 
again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then 
was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. ' ' 

We would not despise this body. It is God's wonderful gift and 
precious trust. It is the means of association with the dear ones 
at home and our friends. This fact, perhaps, more than any other, 



112 FUNERAL SERMONS 

makes us cling desperately to it. We know not how a bodiless 
spirit can commune with spirits in the body. But ''while we are 
at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. ' ' This earthly 
tabernacle cannot enter heaven, as "flesh and blood cannot in- 
herit the kingdom of God." How difficult it is even to commune 
with God, with the awful drag of this body, to draw near to him 
in worship at the infrequent periods which we set aside for that 
purpose. Even devout Christians must confess : ' ' Our souls, how 
heavily they go to reach eternal joys." ''The spirit is willing 
but the flesh is weak." Like Martha, so many of us are careful 
and cumbered with many things so that we also often forget 
the one thing needed. Lives there a child of God, unspoiled and 
loving, who will not say with Paul: "We are willing rather to 
be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." 

"To die is gain" in every way. Does death carry us out of 
the earthly house of this tabernacle ? Only to lead us, if we served 
God in this earthly tent, to an house not made with hands, eter- 
nal in the heavens. For this body of corruption we are given one 
of incorruption. God exchanges rags of mortality for the robe 
of immortality. The image of the earthy which we have worn is 
.broken that we might have completely restored the image of 
God in which he made man at the beginning. Could we see our 
dear ones who have made this change we could scarcely recog- 
nize them — so transfigured would they be. That is all we know 
and can faintly express concerning the body of the resurrec- 
tion. Even Paul, who has much to say of this earthly taber- 
nacle, makes only the statement of the fact concerning the home 
on high. The reason is at hand : "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, 
neither hath entered the heart of man the things which God hath 
prepared for them that love him." 

''What shall bef What shall be? 
All the joys laid up for me? 
Lord, I know not; eyes are holden 



THE HEAVENLY EMIGRANT 113 

'Til Jerusalem the golden 
In its glory I shall see." 

''I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." 

3. Sinister doubt now raises its head and says: All this is 
beautiful and much to be desired, but, is it true? How do I 
know that you are not drawing upon a vivid imagination or de- 
scribing a dream, beautiful, consoling, but only a dream to be 
dissipated upon awaking? Paul anticipates such doubting ques- 
tions. This is his answer: "Now he that hath wrought us for 
the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the ear- 
nest of the Spirit." I forbear to dwell upon the first argument, 
the evident design of God in creating man, not to be lost with the 
earthly tabernacle and be resolved to earth again, but for eter- 
nity, for ''He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for in 
him they all live." May it suffice us that he has given us the ''ear- 
nest of his Spirit." "Earnest" is a word which once was used 
for the purpose for which we today employ the expression "de- 
posit." In the language of business it means the payment of a 
small sum to guarantee the payment in full when the time comes 
to complete the deal. This deposit is the assurance that a person 
is in earnest, means to do what he says or promises. The Holy 
Spirit is God's deposit in our souls to prove that he will fulfil 
all that he has promised concerning our eternal redemption. That 
Spirit brings us to faith in Jesus Christ, preserves us in the true 
faith and sanctifies us through that faith, sealing us unto the 
day of full redemption. Through the same Spirit we are able 
to commune with God, although he is a Spirit and we are in the 
flesh. This communion on earth through prayer and worship is 
but a faint foretaste of the blessed and perfect communion in 
heaven when the limitations of this earthly house will have been 
removed. 

Wherefore comfort one another with these thoughts. Instead 
of plying our perplexed minds with questions beyond that which 



114 ^ FUNEEAL SERMONS 

God has graciously revealed to us, or giving way to brooding 
sorrow like those who have no hope, let us go back to our homes 
and occupations with the parting advice of God's servant as the 
watchword of our lives: ''Wherefore we labour, that, whether 
present or absent, we may be accepted of him." How soon sor- 
row will lose its poignancy and the silent home and empty chair 
cease to make the wound to smart if our thoughts and affections 
were more centered on God and the ambition of being found ac- 
ceptable to him. Is he not the bond that binds the saints in 
heaven to us on earth ? Do not we, his children, live unto him and 
die unto him? Blessed sorrow that opens our eyes to this trysting 
place for the dear one gone on ahead and us lingering behind, even 
God. If we have opened our hearts to God's word, then our de- 
parted friend has done us one more and lasting service, for 
through his grave, as a window, we have looked into eternity and 
strengthened ourselves for the few miles we must wander in the 
wilderness ere we, too, may embark for the fatherland on high. 
And when 

''From out our bourne of time and place 
The flood may bear me far, 
I know I'll see my Pilot face to face 
When I have crossed the bar." 



WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? 
By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

* ' And (he) brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 
And they said. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved 
and thy house."— Acts 16: 30. 31. 

Occasion : Used at the funeral of a worldly-minded man who 
repented shortly before his death 

Christian Friends, but especially mourning Family: 

The choice of this text was determined by a recent visit to the 
departed. During the last weeks of his life I had frequently called 
on him in a pastoral way. At all of these visits I was more than 
welcome. Last week while standing by his bedside and talking 
with him about death and the life to come and comforting him 
with the salvation in Jesus, he said: *'What must I do?" He was 
referred to this passage and the circumstances that called it 
forth and he received the biblical answer to his question. He 
was a seeker after the truth in these last weeks of his life. He 
acknowledged very frankly that he had made a mistake by stand- 
ing aloof from the church and he regretted that he could no 
longer take part in its work. His estimate of himself he ex- 
pressed in these words: "I think that I have been a good citi- 
zen, but I have been a poor Christian." When he was asked 
whether at his funeral it might be stated that he had regretted 
this mistake he said: "Tell my friends, and tell them to be 
different." 

Thank God that even in the eleventh hour the departed ac- 
cepted the salvation in Christ. Today we publish it here for the 
glory of God. "Jesus sinners will receive." According to his 

115 



X16 FUNEBAL SERMONS 

own words he found this salvation "like rain upon parched 
ground." And we add : "There is joy in the presence of God over 
one sinner that repenteth." "What an answer this conversion 
is to the many prayers sent up in this home for his soul. What 
an effect this ought to have on his associates and neighbors who 
are still halting between two opinions. 

The greatest question of life confronted this brother on his 
death-bed. 

What Must I Do to Be Saved? 

I. What gives rise to this question? No man seriously asks 
this question until he realizes that he is in sin, that in that condi- 
tion he is not acceptable to a righteous God and that he cannot 
help himself. 

This question indicates alarm. It is raised only in a soul 
that has a deep conviction of sin. You can only save what is 
in danger, or lost. You save a burning building, a drowning 
man or a lost child. The house that is not exposed to fire, the 
man that walks on solid ground, the child that sleeps in its 
mother's arms are not in need of help. 

Men do not raise this question as long as they depend on 
civil righteousness. How many are blinded by it! Because men 
are good citizens, trusted friends, loving husbands and fathers, 
they think that God must be satisfied with them. Because they 
have a good name in a community and have promoted worthy 
causes and have endeared themselves to their families, they think 
that they must be be acceptable to God. 

But what a distorted conception they have of God! He can- 
not be holy ; he must wink at sin ; he must be endowed w^ith human 
attributes and weaknesses; he cannot be righteous and just. The 
Pharisee who went up into the temple to pray was so well pleased 
with himself because he measured his worth by a wrong stand- 
ard. He said : " I thank thee, God, that I am not like other men, ' ' 



WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? II7 

and then he chose even the lowest class, ''adulterers, fornicators, 
or even this publican." He had the wrong standard, therefore he 
appeared so well. Had he taken God for his standard, not as 
sinful men, following the light of their own minds, picture him, 
but as the Bible reveals him, he would have hidden his face in 
shame. 

Our brother found this civil righteousness satisfactory in life 
because he banished from his mind the true conception of God. 
He worshiped a God of his own making. He set up his own 
standards and ideals and as he made them low enough he meas- 
ured up to them fairly well. He leaned on that staff many years 
while enjoying good health and when no serious thought of 
death and judgment and the life to come ever confronted him. 
But when the test came the staff was weak ; it bent ; it broke and 
left him without support. 

When he came to examine his life under the searchlight of the 
law of God he saw himself in a new light. God was no longer an 
imperfect man, but a being whose holiness and righteousness and 
justice were a consuming fire. He demands absolute holiness in 
his creatures because that is one of his attributes. *'Ye shall be 
holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." When our brother saw 
himself in this new light he felt his nakedness and sinfulness and 
cried out: ''What shall I do to be saved?" 

Beware of trusting your own righteousness for salvation. 
Many of you are comforting yourselves with it ; but know that it 
cannot stand before the bar of an aroused conscience that has 
been under the influence of God's law! Today accept what will 
give ease of conscience and support in death. 

A belief in a future life also gives rise to the question : What 
shall I do to be saved? There is in the breast of man an inkling 
that he will live after death. It seems that no savage tribe is so 
benighted that it has totally lost this feeling. The North Ameri- 
can Indian speaks of his "happy hunting ground" and when an 



llg FUNERAL SERMONS 

African chief dies they kill off many of his slaves to accompany 
him to the life to come. This belief is inborn. In spite of man's 
fallen condition this hope is not entirely blasted and man hopes 
to live forever. There is something in our very makeup that 
shudders at the thought of annihilation. There is a longing in 
the human breast for life. It is the supreme desire of the human 
soul and Job correctly says: ''Whatsoever a man hath will he 
give for his life." Life ! Life ! This is God's gift to man. How we 
shudder at the thought of surrendering it. We cling to it more 
and we long for it hereafter. 

Our brother had this faith. No doubt, for many years he tried 
to suppress his hope, but as death drew near it could no longer 
be suppressed. God was merciful to him. He took a real interest 
in the future, he asked many questions about it and he accepted 
the light that fell from beyond. He no longer warred against 
his better self, but breaking away from the restraint of sin, he 
longed for that better life. He found the answer to his question 
and we trust that his soul is now at rest with God. 

II. What Answers are given to this Question? The world tells 
you that there is no satisfactory answer to the question. It says : 
We cannot know whether there is a God, a heaven, a hell, or a 
future existence of happiness or misery. They say that we cannot 
have the evidence of our senses and, therefore, we cannot know. 
They tell you that no man has ever come back from the dead, that 
that land is a "bourne whence no traveler returns," that the 
future is a sealed book and that no man has ever been able to 
break the seal. 

But in worldly matters men do not act so. They do not insist 
on the evidence of their own senses. If a man were to say: '*! 
have never seen the land of China, hence I do not know that it 
exists," would we not question his sanity? There are men enough 
who have seen China; who have landed on its coasts, who have 
seen its cities and eaten its fruits. These trustworthy witnesses 



WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? Hg 

have come back and told us their experiences and we accept their 
testimony and act on it. Who among us has seen George Wash- 
ington ? No one ; and yet who doubts that he was the first Presi- 
dent of the United States ? It would be a mark of insanity to doubt 
all that reliable eye and ear witnesses have told us about him 
and we are just as sure that he was the first President as if we had 
been in Washington and had seen him with our own eyes. 

Yes we can know about the future life and the way that leads 
to it. God has not left us in the dark. There was one who came 
back from the dead and who revealed the future life to us. Christ 
arose from the dead. He could not be holden of death. He went 
into it but was mightier than death. He came back for the very 
purpose that he might give us the assurance of the life to come. 
After his resurrection his disciples touched him; they ate with 
him; they put their hands into his pierced side; they conversed 
with him and held sweet communion with him. Both Jesus him- 
self and his disciples have given the world the testimony that 
there is a future life. He was seen at one time by more than five 
hundred brethren. Who could reasonably doubt such a cloud of 
witnesses ! There may be such a thing as an honest doubter, but 
he does not question sufficient testimony. Here then from the 
mouth of Christ and his faithful followers you have the testi- 
mony that you need and if you still doubt you do so because you 
choose to, not because the testimony is not sufficient. 

But the world sometimes admits that the question can be 
answered and it has an answer that is satisfactory to itself. It 
says: "Do the best that you can; follow the light that you have; 
obey the voice of conscience ; fulfil self-imposed laws ; do good as 
you understand it." Summing up all the answers that the world 
gives we have this: Human righteousness is sufficient for salva- 
tion. But the Book says : "Except your righteousness shall exceed 
the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no wise 
enter into the kingdom of heaven.'' The scribes and Pharisees 



220 FUNEBALSEBMONS 

were not bad men as the world goes. They were not gross drunk- 
ards and thieves and adulterers. Their fellow-men gave them the 
testimony, that they led model lives, that they outwardly con- 
formed to the letter of the law. And yet Jesus says it takes a 
better righteousness than theirs to enter the kingdom. 

There is no more prevalent sin both in the church and out- 
side of it than self-righteousness. A man wants to be his own sav- 
ior. That is the only way to salvation that the natural man has 
found and it is the only way that is satisfactory to him. It 
tickles his pride. It calls for no humility. It exalts human nature 
and puffs it up. 

But there is an answer given to this question by the Bible 
that is so simple that a child can understand it, so comforting 
that the soul that has grasped it seeks no further. It is the 
answer sent by God and for that reason it is final and complete. 

''Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'* 
He is the Son of God. He was our substitute under the law. He 
suffered the penalty of sin upon the cross. He cried upon the 
cross: "It is finished!" God's wrath is appeased. His justice 
is satisfied, his holiness is vindicated. The debt is paid and his 
resurrection and ascension are the evidence of it. There is noth- 
ing asked of you for salvation. You are a poor beggar, you have 
nothing to offer. But the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses 
from all sin. 

Because this is God's answer it fills the bill. It is satisfactory. 
It meets the needs of the human soul. In all the world ours is the 
only religion that knows of a Savior, that offers the human heart 
just what it needs. 

If a man were trying to run a wheelbarrow down a railroad 
track anybody could see that the barrow and the track were not 
made for each other. It is equally plain that a wagon and a rail- 
road track were not designed for each other. But stand and see 



WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? 121 

the iron horse come down the track. Its flanged wheels are de- 
signed for the track, with safety it runs at high speed. 

Here is a sinner and here is a Savior. They are designed for 
each other. They fit together. Nothing in all the world could 
meet the needs of the human soul, but a Savior who was the Son 
of God! And when he came and bore the load of sin, then the 
sinner had One who could lead him into the presence of God. 
And that is why when a sinner has grasped the idea of sin and its 
results, and forgiveness and its consequences, nothing else is 
needed for support in the hour of death. 

While this is an occasion of sorrow, there is much over which 
to rejoice. In the eleventh hour our brother found the Savior, he 
confessed him and found peace in the forgiveness of sins and he 
had the hope of heaven. May others who have been indifferent 
heed the warning and come to Christ while he still calls them. 
And may those of us who have found peace in his wounds so live 
that death may admit us into the glorious presence of God. Amen ! 



THE LIVELY HOPE 
By Rev. Prof. George Rygh 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which 
according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incor- 
ruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for 
you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready 
to be revealed in the last time." — I Peter 1: 3-5. 

Occasion : For a Middle- Aged Christian 

Mourning Friends: 

We have assembled in the house of mourning. Again we stand 
face to face with the great enemy — Death. He stalks triumphantly 
through the world and through all the ages. His pathway is 
strewn with grief and sorrow. Hopelessness and despair are his 
companions; anguish of heart is his triumph. He walks at our 
side along the road of life. He sits with us at table; he is the 
unbidden guest at every merrymaking, the dread, mysterious fact 
hovering near at every moment. He lays his chill hand upon the 
heart and it beats no more. The great and powerful have no 
grandeur in his presence. They are but dust and ashes. 

The Danish author, Carl Ploug, wrote a poem entitled ''Abel's 
Death." Our first parents are mystified. They cannot compre- 
hend this new thing that has come into their experience. They 
speak to the prostrate frame; but he answers not. The mother 
chides him, but the dead boy makes no response. His eyes are 
glassy. His hands are cold and lifeless. His heart is still. Death 
had come into the world, and they learned what humanity ever 
since has learned — that death is the comrade of sin. 

122 



THE LIVELY HOPE 123 

Does death end it all? Does death mark the termination of 
life? Are human beings no more than the cattle of the fields, 
or the birds of the air that fall to earth and return to the dust 
from which they came? Or does life project itself beyond this 
interruption which men call death? Is the soul of man immortal? 
Or are the deep-seated hopes and aspirations of men for immor- 
tality but an illusion and a deception ? All the nations of the earth 
and the wisest men of all the times have believed and taught the 
immortality of the soul. In the light of God's testimony in the 
human heart, they have believed and taught that men's deeds fol- 
low them beyond the grave and that every man shall be recom- 
pensed according to the deeds done in the body. The good shall 
walk in Elysian fields of joy and perfect happiness: the evil shall 
suffer the torments of punishment for their wicked lives. The law 
of retribution, which so often fails in this present life, reaches men 
beyond the portals of death and fixes their fate throughout eter- 
nity; for justice is the law of the universe, and justice must be 
done. 

But the hope which men have for life beyond death is built on 
shifting sand. Men's evil consciences warn them against the 
Judgment Day, and sin cannot be atoned for by good works and 
scourgings and tears. Sin has humanity in its grip. Sin cannot 
be argued away nor can the guilt of sin be removed by man. For 
this reason the hope of humanity is weak and trembling, full of 
fear and misgiving. Death to the unbeliever or the heathen is 
literally a plunge in the dark, a journeying into an unknown 
world filled with direst possibilities. In the presence of death 
humanity is hopeless, cheerless and despairing. 

No wonder the apostle blesses God whom he speaks of as the 
"Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Our God is not an unknown 
God, not an impersonal Energy, an intangible Force. He is the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is also our Father, who 
' ' according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a 



124 FUNERAL SERMONS 

lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 
Through the glorious Gospel he has revealed his ''abundant 
mercy" whereby he bestows on us the forgiveness of sin, life and 
salvation, for through this ''abundant mercy" he has begotten us 
again. We are born again, regenerated, made the children of God 
through Baptism and the power of God's life-giving Word. 

As the children of God we have an inheritance; for children 
are rightful heirs. There is a patrimony which comes to us, not by 
virtue of good deeds or merit of our own, but as the gift of grace. 
"If children, then heirs." 

This inheritance is "incorruptible." It never decays. Our 
bodies are tenements of clay which soon decay and sink into the 
earth to mix with the dust from which they came. But that which 
men call "death" does in no wise vitiate or destroy our eternal 
inheritance. "Henceforth," says the apostle, "there is laid up for 
me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, 
shall give me at that day : and not to me only, but unto all them 
also that love his appearing" (|II Timothy 4:8). This "crown" 
of immortal life represents the honor and unspeakable joy which 
God bestows in all their fulness upon those who, in this life, built 
their hope upon the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from 
the dead. 

This inheritance is "undefiled." It is essentially pure. There 
is nothing to mar it, nothing to tarnish it. It has no taint of evil 
nor tinge of corruption. It is essentially pure, essentially ethical, 
essentially the expression of the perfection which is God's. 

"Our inheritance fadeth not away." It is unwithering. It 
blossoms forever. It is not only a century plant ; it is an eternity 
plant, never failing to satisfy, never failing to fill the soul with 
the rapture ineffable and perfect. 

Thus gloriously the apostle describes the inheritance which is 
"reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God, 
through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last 



THE LIVELY HOPE 125 

day." Jesus loved to speak of heaven and its glory both for 
himself and for his disciples. "In my Father's house," he says, 
*'are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you." It is the 
Home Beautiful, the Land of Heart's Desire. As it is written, 
'^Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man the things v^^hich God hath prepared for them that 
love him" (I Corinthians 2: 9). 

Such is our inheritance. Such is the object, the content of our 
strong ''lively hope." Neither life nor death, neither principali- 
ties nor powers, neither arguments nor ridicule, neither prosper- 
ity nor adversity, can separate us from the hope which we have 
who are begotten again of God the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ in his "abundant mercy." We are God's children and the 
rightful heirs of all his wealth and eternal treasure. 

But what if our hope were an illusion and a snare ; such as is 
the hope of the unbelieving world? What if we, too, are building 
our hope on shifting sand? What if the Castle Beautiful which 
we build is insecure and tumbles about ouf ears in the day of 
temptation and in the hour of death? What if the staff upon 
which we lean prove a broken reed, and we, like the heathen, sink 
to earth never to rise again? 

Our hope is built upon a firm foundation. It is not built as is 
the unbeliever's hope upon good works of human merit. Our hope 
of heaven is not built on human righteousness and human en- 
deavor. The ground upon which our hope rests is the resurrection 
of Jesus Christ from the dead. That is the rock foundation upon 
which our hope is built. His resurrection seals and confirms for- 
ever the truth of Christ's doctrine. It attests God's acceptance 
and approval of the sacrifice for sin which Christ, the God-Man, 
made by his perfect life and innocent sufferings and death upon 
the cross. It is the crowning glory placed by God his Father upon 
his service as the mediator between God and man. Christ Jesus 
has paid the price. We are purchased with his holy, precious 



126 FUNERAL SERMONS 

blood, his innocent sufferings and death. Our guilt is atoned. Our 
sins are washed away by his blood. Our souls are redeemed 
through the ransom which Christ has paid upon the cross. Our 
hope is built upon God's "abundant mercy" as revealed in the 
sending of his Son to earth to die for the sin of the world and to 
rise again as the Conqueror of Death, the Accepted Sacrifice, the 
Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Therefore 
every believer says with fullest confidence from the heart : 

'*My hope is built on nothing less 
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
But wholly lean on Jesus' name. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand, :^ . 

All other ground is sinking sand. ' ' 

Our hope is built securely upon what God our Heavenly Fa- 
ther has done for us through the mediatorial work of Christ 
Jesus, our Lord and only Saviour. We Christians build our hope 
on God's mercy, not on our own merits. We build on God's 
'^abundant mercy," not on our own defective work-righteous- 
ness. We do not hesitate to make our choice between what God 
has done for us and what we poor sinners may be able to do. 
His ''abundant mercy" is the Gibraltar upon which by his Holy 
Spirit we build the castle of faith and hope. Heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but our hope cannot be disturbed. Men may 
traduce us. Men may persecute. Men may rob us of life itself; 
but far and away beyond the reach of all evil powers on earth and 
under the earth is our hope which is built upon the resurrection 
of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. That cannot be dis- 
turbed. That cannot be destroyed. That cannot be taken from 
us by any power on earth. It is ours. In this hope we rest 
secure. Though all things fail, it never fails. Though the eyes 
grow dim, mind confused and the heart chilled in disappoint- 



THE LIVELY HOPE 127 

ment and sorrow, this hope glorifies life and fills our soul with 
courage and joy unspeakable. 

Meanwhile we greatly rejoice in this hope, ''though now for 
a season, if need be, we are in heaviness through manifold temp- 
tations." For as the gold is purified of its dross by the fire so 
our faith is cleansed by the trials of life. They serve to disci- 
pline us, to train and develop us, to prepare us for the larger 
life, untrammeled in its development into the larger fruition 
and higher culmination of our Christian hope. 

Comfort yourselves, therefore, sorrowing relatives and friends 
of the departed, in this hope. It is based upon the resurrection 
of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. Bless God the Father 
f our Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, who by his 
Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament has begotten us again 
unto this immovable hope by his ''abundant mercy." Those 
who have gone before beckon us homeward. In the providence 
of God, our grief, though a trial, helps to confirm our faith and 
purify it of doubts and misgivings. It gives us a vision of the 
glory that is not seen on land or sea, but is reserved for the 
children of God. 

May he remove all doubts and all unbelief from your hearts. 
May he make us strong in faith that our hope may be a lively 
hope. In that other and better world where sin and death shall 
be no more we shall know as we are known and rejoice together 
with our beloved ones who died in the Lord Jesus Christ. We 
shall have experiences new and wonderful beyond the power of 
our limited minds to conceive. To him, the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, be praise, glory and honor for his "abundant 
mercy" now and forever more. Amen. 



THE CHRISTIAN'S KNOWLEDGE INADEQUATE TO SOLVE 
EVERY PROBLEM 

By Rev. G. J. Troutman 

"Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; 
but thou Shalt know hereafter." — John 13: 7. 

Occasion: In the home of a suicide, who was a member of the 

church, and is thought to have become demented from 

worry over ill health 

Dear Mourners: 

What a shock this community received when the sad news of 

the untimely death of became known. We were 

dumb-founded; it seemed unbelievable; and we have not recov- 
ered from the effects of the deplorable act that has culminated 
in the death of this highly respected man. If we, his friends and 
neighbors, were sorely affected by the sad intelligence of his 
untimely death, what must have been the effect on the imme- 
diate family of the deceased. I know that I am expressing the 
sentiment of the community, when I extend to this bereaved 
family our heartfelt sympathy. While this pity and kindly feel- 
ing will not heal the wound, it may, to some extent, allay the 
pain so suddenly inflicted. Why did this man commit this rash 
act? Was he accountable for the cruel deed? Did he cease to be 
a Christian when he took his own life? Could not God have pre- 
vented this tragedy? If so, why did he not do so? These, and 
similar questions, have been asked, but who is able to answer 
them in a satisfactory manner? Certainly not the man of the 
world, nor do we Christians claim to be able to do so. 

128 



CHRISTIAN'S KNOWLEDGE INADEQUATE 129 

The Christian's Knowledge Inadequate to Solve Every Problem 

There is much Christians do not know: It is apparent from 
the words of our text, that Peter, one of the most prominent 
disciples, did not always know, nor could he understand, the 
words and acts of the Lord Jesus. Peter did not fully grasp the 
import and catch the significance of the last Passover Feast. The 
sacred scenes and experiences were too much for his finite mind 
to grasp; and now, as Jesus was about to wash Peter's feet, he 
remonstrated ; he did not think it was the thing to do. Peter evi- 
dently considered this act of the Lord as unbecoming and there- 
fore said: "Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and 
said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now : but thou shalt 
know hereafter." 

The apostles did not possess the adequate knowledge to solve 
every problem that confronted them. These faithful followers 
of the Master were often perplexed. The Lord's words and ways 
seemed strange to them at times. Their short-sighted under- 
standing made it practically impossible for them to understand 
why the Lord did this, or why he did not do otherwise; why 
he did not prevent this or that when it was in his power to do 
so. They, however, learned through faith and experience that 
the Lord does all things well, he knows what is best for each 
of us. 

That there are many problems that children of God cannot 
solve, is verified by God-fearing people of every age. This fact 
should not surprise us. The Lord has plainly told us. ''For my 
thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, 
saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than 
your thoughts" (Isaiah 55: 8-9). That God watches over the 
affairs of the world, and that nothing transpires without his 
permission, is very plain from Matthew 10: 29-31: "Are not two 



130 



FUNEEAL SERMONS 



sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on 
the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head 
are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value 
than many sparrows." Not that God wills every act of man, 
by no means. Innumerable are the deeds of men that are con- 
trary to the will of the Lord. God does not want us to commit 
sin, he warns us against iniquity, and tells us of the terrible re- 
sults that follow a life of sin. It is the Lord's will that all should 
accept the redemption offered through Christ Jesus; but many 
will not. Why so many reject this proffered salvation is a difficult 
problem to answer. Why individuals will commit crimes in spite 
of their better knowledge, is hard to explain. Innate iniquity is 
the key to the solution, but does not solve the mystery. 

We are Christians, but our knowledge is not adequate to an- 
swer the question : Why did this man take his own life ? He had 
so much to live for. 

The deceased had a happy home, which is, without a doubt, 
one of the greatest blessings on earth. He seemed to appreciate 
his home, one could usually find him there. He was not like many 
husbands and fathers that seek association and pleasure else- 
where than at home; who want to get away from under their 
own roof and the society of those that ought to be the nearest 
and dearest to them. He loved his wife and children and appre- 
ciated being with them : why such a man should separate him- 
self, by this manner, from his dear ones, is hard to explain. 

The departed enjoyed the respect of the community. Having 
been born, reared and always lived on the farm where he com- 
mitted the rash act that culminated in his death, his friends and 
neighbors had ample opportunity to know him. Most certainly 
he had faults like every other individual, but that he was 
widely known and highly respected is apparent today, and in- 
creases the mystery of his untimely death. 



CHRISTIAN'S KNOWLEDGE INADEQUATE 131 

This dead man was prosperous. He was honest, industrious 
and frugal and God blessed his labor, so that he not only en- 
joyed the necessaries of life, but accumulated considerable of 
this world's goods. Many would say, that he was now in a posi- 
tion and condition not only to live without anxious cares, but to 
enjoy life; yet he ends his earthly existence in such a ruthless 
way. 

Above all, the deceased was a member of a Christian church. 
It is deplorable that any person should take his own life, but 
it seems doubly so, when a confessor of Christ brings about his 
own death. Late in life, only two years ago, the now departed, 
whose lifeless body we have before us, publicly professed his 
faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized. He was faithful in 
attendance at divine services and regularly participated in the 
Lord's Supper. Last Sunday evening he attended the service 
and spoke appreciatively of the same. We have no reason to 
doubt his sincerity, but it is beyond our comprehension to under- 
stand how anyone that has heard the terrible words of the Law, 
and sweet message of the Gospel, can commit such a deed, dia- 
metrically opposed to the Christian religion. A mystery confronts 
us: a mystery that we shall not be able to unravel this side of 
eternity. We know so little with absolute certainty, but God 
knows it all, and we have the assurance that we shall know 
hereafter. 

Some facts we do know: We know that the deceased was not 
in good health. For some time his physical condition has been 
far below normal. He sought relief by consulting various physi- 
cians and applying the remedies suggested. He hoped by the 
change of climate to recuperate, but it was of no avail. His con- 
dition worried him and it became apparent to those about him 
that he was breaking down mentally. His mental and physical 
condition preyed on his mind and in all probability caused him 
to commit this rash act. 



Part IV 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 
By Rev. Wm. Brenner 

*'. . . What I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt 
two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better; 
nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." — Philippians 1: 
22-24. 

Occasion: For a Christian 

Prayer: Lord God, who hearest prayer, and fulfillest the de- 
sire of them that fear thee : let thy mercy be upon us as our trust 
is in thee. "We seek thy favor, we implore thy help and blessing. 

Especially do we entreat thee to bless and comfort those that 
mourn, all who are oppressed and heavy-laden, every anxious 
and troubled soul. What seems evil to these bereaved and sor- 
rowing ones, overrule thou, we pray thee, for good. In their 
afflicion may they turn to thee for succor; in faith and prayer 
approach thy throne of grace that ''they may obtain mercy and 
find grace to help in time of need." In the midst of our many 
trials and temptations may we never lose our faith and trust in 
thee, but ever hold fast the blessed assurance which thy Word 
gives to all believers. 

Gracious Savior, be thou with us. Let thy mercy richly 
flow; give thy Spirit, blessed Jesus, light and life on us bestow. 

Unworthy as we are, we come to thee, most merciful Father, 
for the forgiveness of our sins, and whatsoever we have need of 
in our pilgrimage through this world of sorrow and strife, of 
doubt and trouble. Have mercy upon us for Christ's sake. Cheer 
us in our weariness. Support us in our weakness. Guide us in all 
our ways. 



4 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Be with us now, and evermore, and grant us thy peace, 
Lord. 

''Dear Saviour of all below, 
Comfort us in every woe; 
Hear, O hear us, 
Blessed Jesus. '^ Amen. 

Dear Friends and Brethren in Christ, especially mourning 
Attendants : 

In the words of our text St. Paul speaks of ^'Life here and 
Hereafter, ' ' and that which lies between the two and is the cause 
of our separation from the one and connection with the other. 
"When a man's earthly course is finished, his physical existence 
terminated and this world has vanished forever from his vision, 
we say that he is dead. Death may overtake us any time. Life, 
exceedingly valuable and precious to him who uses it aright, is, 
nevertheless, short and uncertain. The Scriptures themselves 
speak of it as but ''a vapor that appeareth for a little while and 
then vanisheth away." ''We know not what a single day may 
bring forth." "In the midst of life, we are in death." "We all 
do fade as a leaf and are carried away as with a flood." "Are 
not his days also like the days of an hireling?" "Behold, thou 
hast made my days as an hand-breadth." Does not death often 
come "as a thief in the night," when we least expect him? Even 
of those who live the longest, the words of Job are true, "Wlien 
a few more years are come, then shall I go the way whence I shall 
not return" (Job 16: 22), and of the Psalmist: "We spend our 
years as a tale that is told" (Ps. 90: 9). And since according 
to God's Word and our own experience, these things are indis- 
putably true, will we not be wise if we make the words of the 
Psalmist our devout and constant meditation: "Lord, make me 
to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is ; that I 
may know how frail I am" (Ps. 39: 4) ? 



n 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 5 

King Phillip of Macedon had a servant whose duty it was to 
wake the king each morning by saying, Phillip, remember thou 
art mortal." Surely we need no such reminders, for the evi- 
dences of our mortality are everywhere. More people are beneath 
the ground than above it. The cemeteries are fast receiving the 
teeming populations of our cities, towns, villages, and country 
places. Well may it be said : 

** Death floats upon every passing breeze, 
And lurks in every flower; 
Each season has its own disease. 
Its perils every hour." 

Whether with Paul we have a "desire to depart" or not, 
whether we can contemplate the close of our earthly history 
with the calmness and holy joy which marked the termination 
of the temporal career of the great Apostle, or are filled with 
trepidation and alarm as we think of our approaching end; de- 
part we must. It is the inevitable. ''The wages of sin is death." 
''By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and 
so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." 
*'What man is he that liveth and shall not see death?" "It is 
appointed unto all men once to die and after death the judg- 
ment." 

There is no land without its graves, no city without its funeral 
processions, no home, however favored, where crepe will not 
sooner or later be seen on the door, and cries heard for the 
"touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is 
still." 

"There is no flock, however watched and tended, 

But one dead lamb is there; 
There is no fireside, howsoever defended, 

But has one vacant chair." 

Death is a mighty conqueror; all must bow before him; all 
are under his dominion. He holds universal sway. He makes no 



Q FUNERAL SERMONS 

distinction between the rich and the poor, the great and the 
small, the young and the old, the learned and the unlettered. 
The millionaire banker as well as the meanest beggar must an- 
swer his summons. 

Lazarus died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's 
bosom. The rich man, clothed in purple and fine linen, and far- 
ing sumptuously every day, also died, and w^as buried, and in hell 
he lifted up his eyes being in torments. Whatever the privileges 
of the rich, however great the influence of wealth may be in this 
world, money cannot buy exemption from death. ''All flesh is 
as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The 
grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away" (I Pet. 1: 
24). "We spend our yesLVs as a tale that is told . . . for it 
is soon cut off, and we fly away" (Ps. 90: 9. 10). When we begin 
to live, we also begin to die. Our life is a march to the tomb, and 
how varied and unsearchably mysterious our experiences between 
the cradle and the grave — what toils and cares, pains and pleas- 
ures, hopes and disappointments, successes and failures, sorrows 
and joys are crowded into life's little span! 

"Bits of gladness and of sorrow 
Strangely crossed and interlaid, 
Bits of cloudbelt and of rainbow. 
In deep alternate braid. 
Bits of storm when winds are warring 
Bits of calm when blasts are stayed, 
Bits of silence and of uproar. 
Bits of sunlight and of shade. 

"Now the garland, now the coffin, 
Now the wedding, now the tomb, 
Now the festal shouts of thousands, 
Now the churchyard's lonely gloom, 
Now the song above the living, 
Now the chant above the dead, 
The full smile of infant beauty, 
Age's wan and furrowed head. 



1 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 7 

"Bits of brightening and of darkening, 
Bits of weariness and of rest, 
All the hoping and despairing 
Of the full or hollowed breast; 
Bits of slumbering and of wakening, 
Heavy tossing to and fro, 
Shreads of living and of dying, 
Beings daily ebb and flow. 

"With these is life begun and closed, 
Its strange mosaic thus composed; 
Such are our annals upon earth. 
Our tale from very hour of birth.'' 

Our text also speaks of our "Immortality." St. Paul says he 
had a desire to ''depart," i. e., of going from one place to an- 
other, from this world to the next. He was not thinking of trav- 
eling from one point to another on this earth, but of returning, 
or going back to mother earth — "earth to earth, dust to dust, 
ashes to ashes." But his life would still go on. His existence 
would be continued. The words of the Apostle are: Having a 
desire to depart and "To Be." The language used is simple. 
The conviction expressed most positive. Paul did not merely 
"hope" for immortality, but he was "persuaded" and "knew, 
that if the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have 
a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens" (H Cor. 5: 1). 

He was assured that death is not the end; but only an inci- 
dent in our history, a translation, but not an obliteration or ex- 
tinction of our being. Whatever others might think, there was no 
room for doubt or questionings in the mind of St. Paul as to the 
blessed destiny which awaited him. Others may speak of death 
as "a leap in the dark," for the author of the 15th chapter of 
First Corinthians it was a flight into the light. Others may con- 
ceive of it as "going into the great perhaps," but for the writer 
of the "Epistle to Timothy" nothing was more certain than that 



g FUNERAL SERMONS 

* ' Christ hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to 
light through the Gospel" (I Tim. 1: 10), and that if the wages 
of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6: 23). 

* * Consider what I say ; and the Lord give thee understanding 
in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David 
was raised from the dead according to my Gospel: wherein I 
suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds ; but the Word of 
God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's 
sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ 
Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be 
dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we 
shall also reign with him : if we deny him, he will also deny us ' ' 
(II Tim. 2: 7-12). ''The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then 
heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we 
suffer with him that we may be also glorified together. For I 
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy 
to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" 
(Rom. 8: 16-18). ''If in this life only we have hope in Christ, 
we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from 
the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since 
by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the 
dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made 
alive" (I Cor. 15: 20-22). 

"Jesus, thou Prince of Life, 
Tliy chosen cannot die; 
They conquer in the strife, 
To reign with thee on high.'* 

** Jesus lives: No longer now 

Can thy terrors, Death, appall me; 
Jesus lives: By this I know 
From the grave he will recall me. 



i 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 9 

Brighter scenes will then commence; 
This shall be my confidence. 

** Jesus lives: To him the Throne 

High o'er earth and heaven is given: 
I shall go where he is gone, 

Live and reign with him in heaven. 
God is pledged; weak doubtings, hence; 
This shall be my confidence. 

''Jesus lives: I know full well 

Naught me from his love shall sever; 
Life, nor death, nor powers of hell, 

Part me now from Christ for ever; 
Freely God doth grace dispense, 
This shall be my confidence.'' 

Further, our text speaks of our chief felicity hereafter. 
Paul's desire was to depart and be ''With Christ." 

Could we desire anything higher or better? ''Father, I will,'* 
was the prayer of Jesus, "that they whom thou hast given me, 
may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.'' 
Companionship with the risen, ascended, and glorified Redeemer 
— this is the greatest good, the sublimest happiness, which the 
believing soul can cherish or hope to receive. Where Christ is 
there is everything that is best. "In his presence is fulness of 
joy, at his right hand are pleasures forevermore.'' True, Christ 
is with his people here and now in Word and Sacrament. He 
comes to us ; but it is largely a veiled and mysterious, a real but 
unseen presence which he vouchsafes in and through his ap- 
pointed Ordinances. Hereafter we shall walk not by faith, but 
by sight and behold the King in his beauty, and rejoice con- 
tinually before him. Then "we shall see him as he is" and be 
conformed to his likeness." How glorious is that kingdom 
wherein all the saints do rejoice with Christ. They are clothed 
with white raiment, and follow the Lamb whithersoever he go- 



10 FUNERAL SERMONS 

eth." Beautiful is the Celestial City, blessed its inhabitants, 
beyond all human conception, according to the inspired record, 
for ''God is in it and the Lamb," and "they shall see his face," 
and "they shall serve him day and night," both great and 
small. "And they are without fault before the throne of God" 
(Rev. 14: 5). "And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of 
God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are 
thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou 
King of saints" (Rev. 15: 3). "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, 
and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly 
and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to 
God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 
and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new Covenant, and to the blood 
of sprinkling that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel" 
(Heb. 12: 22-24). "And so shall we ever be with the Lord." 
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thess. 4: 
18). "In his Father's house are many mansions. If it were not 
so, he would have told us so. He has gone to prepare a place for 
us, and he will come again and receive us unto himself, that 
where he is there we may be also." ^ 

"When death these mortal eyes shall seal, 
And still this throbbing heart, 
The rending veil shall Thee reveal, 
All glorious as Thou art." 

Finally our text speaks of the immediateness of our heavenly 
felicity, after death. 

The Apostle briefly describes the momentous crisis which every 
one of us must sooner or later encounter, and the consequences 
of our departure, or the state and condition in which believers 
will exist after death; but he gives no intimation in his descrip- 
tion of Immortality of a so-called "intermediate state" — a doc- 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER H 

trine which has deceived many souls. PauPs expectation is to 
depart and then at once to be with Christ. His language will 
admit of no other interpretation. The Bible speaks plainly about 
two places beyond the grave, but it says nothing about a third 
place, nothing about a midway station or a purgatory. Paul 
speaks of those Christians, or believers in Christ who are "ab- 
sent from the body, as present with the Lord." ''Today shalt 
thou be with me in Paradise," were the words of Jesus to the 
dying thief, and such is the glorious privilege awaiting every 
saint that passes down into the valley of the shadow of death. 

Without Scriptural authority also is the theory promulgated 
in certain Protestant quarters about ^ temporary resting-place, 
an imperfect abode somewhere, for the righteous, where they 
wait for their Lord, an ante-room or vestibule of heaven. The 
Word of God is silent on this point ; and all discussion regarding 
matters not plainly revealed in Holy Scripture only tends to cre- 
ate and promote confusion and disorder, strife and schism, and 
should, therefore, be avoided. Learned men are often given to 
vain speculations. False and foolish are many of the ideas and 
opinions entertained by so-called "modern," "advanced," and 
"scientific theologians," "who concerning the Truth have erred, 
and overthrow the faith of some" (II Tim. 2: 18). "There are 
many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, teaching things 
which they ought not," says Paul to Titus, "but speak thou the 
things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 1: 10; 2: 1). 
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." Dying in the 
Lord, we possess at once and for ever an "inheritance incor- 
ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven 
for us" (I Pet. 1:4). "He that believe th and is baptized shall 
be saved." "This is life eternal that they might know thee, the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." "He 
that heareth my words," says Christ, "and believeth on him 
that hath sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into 



12 FUNERAL SERMONS 

condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. ' ' Believers in 
Christ are saved, unbelievers are lost. ^'And these shall go away 
into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life ever- 
lasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 
25: 46). ''Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day, nor the 
hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 25: 13). 

"Who, O Lord, when life is o'er, 

Shall to heaven's blest mansions soar? 
Who, an ever welcome guest, 
In thy holy place shall rest? 

"He who trusts in Christ alone, 
Not in aught himself has done; 
He, great God, shall be thy care, 
And thy choicest blessings share." 

"An exceeding and eternal weight of glory" — we cannot 
comprehend what these words mean, but we comfort ourselves 
with them. "Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" — as 
Luther says: "It passeth man's capacity. To understand and ex- 
plain — the excellency of this is impossible to human reason." 

"There the saints shall keep eternal Holy Day, ever joyful, 
secure, and free from all suffering, ever satisfied in God." "My 
Lord has said that he will raise me up again at the last day. A 
mighty trumpet-peal will awaken and renew us all. Praise God 
who has taught us not to dread, but to sigh and long for that day, 
and with St. Paul earnestly to desire to depart and be with 
Christ. His is no empty and idle kingdom. There is joy unspeak- 
able and full of glory. The Word of God abideth for ever." 
Christ says: "Where I am, there also shall my servant be." I 
will comfort myself with this word: "I live, and ye shall live 
also." If Cicero could nobly console himself and take courage 
against death, how much more should we Christians, who have a 
Lord, who is the Destroyer of death, who has vanquished him, 
"Christ, the Son of God, who is the Resurrection and the Life." 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 13 

''If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them 
also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. " ' ' Wherefore 
sorrow not as others which have no hope." 

Let us remember that we are mortal; that it is appointed 
unto us also to die. Prepare to meet thy God. ''Acquaint now 
thyself with him, and be at peace ; thereby good shall come unto 
thee." Isaac Watts, the great hymn-writer, said: "Thank God, 
I can lie down at night with no concern whether I awake in this 
world or the next." Can you, dear friend? Can you say with 
Paul, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"? Dost thou 
believe on the Son of God? Confident that "Christ died for our 
sins, and rose again for our justification," have we made him 
our Refuge and Hope. Happy they who can say with the Apostle : 
"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." "But after that the kindness and love of 
God our Saviour toward man appeared, that being justified by 
his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eter- 
nal life. This is a faithful saying . . . ." (Titus 3: 4, 7, 8). 

Live for eternity. Set your affections on things above. 

Haller was a great German naturalist, who made physiology a 
science. He was professor at Goettingen, but his reputation and 
activity were world-wide. The universities of Berlin, Stockholm, 
Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Paris, Florence, Bologna, Padua, ac- 
counted it an honor to reckon him among their members; and 
not merely German princes, but the Emperor Joseph the Second 
eagerly sought his friendship. After his death a private diary 
was found, which shows how on every day in this busiest of lives, 
so constantly devoted to the investigation of scientific questions, 
time was taken for communion with the Unseen, and for medita- 
tion on the Future. "Enable me to think," these are his words, 
"in this still hour, on eternity, and prize at their true worth the 
poor joys of this fleeting life." "May I not only know, but feel, 
that if I have no peace with thee, my God, I have nothing, and 



24 FUNERAL SEBMONS 

that the most enjoyable of such lives is but a sad dream, which 
eternity will end/' 

Dear Friends: May the Lord comfort you in your bereave- 
ment. *'0 thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, 
behold, I will turn thy mourning into joy" (Is. 54: 11). *' Though 
the mountains depart, and the hills be removed, yet my kindness 
shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my 
peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. This 
is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteous- 
ness is of me, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer" (Is. 54: 10, 17). 

''Thou, who alone canst heal the broken-hearted, 
O Jesus, Saviour, hear. 
For those whose joy of life seems all departed, 
Whose path lies bleak and drear. 

''He, whom she loved so well thy hand hath taken; 
Make her submissive, Lord, 
Her soul to faith and trust in thee awaken, 
Do thou relief afford. 

''O God, be with her in her lonely dwelling, 
Eeveal how near thou art; 
Sweeten her solitude, and, grief dispelling, 
Revive her drooping heart. 

"At length make clearly known thy gracious leading, 
In all the ways weVe trod; 
We know, dear Saviour, thou art interceding, 
For ev'ry child of God. 

"Plead then for us, thou dost not love to chasten, 
But thou art wise as kind: 
O let each sorrow bid us onward hasten, 
With patient, earnest mind. 

"Lord, our lives we give to thy tender keeping, 
Let not our footsteps roam; 
And stay the torrent of our bitter weeping, 
With foretastes of our Home. 



LIFE HERE AND HEREAFTER 15 

** There where no change, nor death can make us sever, 
May we our dear ones meet; 
To own thee, Jesus, as our King for ever, 
And worship at thy feet." 

Prayer: Thy thoughts, God, are unsearchable and thy ways 
past finding out. Grant us, we beseech thee, in all our trials and 
adversities, patient endurance, and humble submission to thy 
Holy Will. Overrule every affliction to thy Glory, and our good. 
Bestow thy saving grace upon every needy soul. Comfort every 
sorrowing, suffering spirit that calls upon thy name. Make us 
penitent for all our sins, pardon every transgression, and lead 
us into the Way of everlasting life. Let thy mercy, Lord, be 
upon us, as our trust is in thee. 

Grant us thy peace. Lord, through our daily life, 
Our balm in sorrow, and our stay in strife; 
And when thy voice shall bid our conflict cease. 
Call us, O Lord, to thine eternal peace. Amen. 



I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER UVETH 
By Rev. Walter E. Tressel, A. M. 

'*. . . I know that my Redeemer liveth . . ." — Job 19: 25. 

Occasion: For a man of exceptional gifts, highly educated, beset 

by doubts, suffering at times from serious losses, but 

regaining the simple faith of his childhood and 

dying in the Christian hope 

A few strokes of the pen suffice the author of this unrivalled 
book to picture vividly the happy life of Job and his children. 
Job is represented as a blameless, upright man. He has become 
a man of wealth, of dignity, of influence. His children visit each 
other and spend many days in family fellowship and feasting. 
Fearing that his sons may have sinned and bidden God farewell, 
this great man offers burnt offerings according to the number of 
them all. 

Suddenly wealth and substance are consumed, servants are 
slain, the children are destroyed, Job himself is sorely smitten. 
''Blessed be the name of the Lord," we hear him say. ''Re- 
nounce God, and die," advises his wife. But he charges her with 
speaking as one of the foolish and impious women. 

Job's three friends come to bemoan with him and to comfort 
him, but their words lead the severely tried man to exclaim: 
"Miserable comforters are ye all." Broken in body, spirit and 
fortune. Job presents a pathetic figure. Fear and doubt assail 
him. Unbelief and despair threaten to engulf him. There is "the 
light of conflagrations," one hears, "the sound of falling cities," 
"birds of darkness are on the wing, specters uproar, the dead 
walk, the living dream," 

16 . 



I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH 17 

Job is being tested. Is there no help for him? Is God hiding 
himself from his servant? Is his mercy entirely removed forever? 
Hov7 nobly the man of patience endures the test ! Earnestly does 
he argue with his friends. Most earnestly does he expostulate 
with God. At length he bursts through the barriers, and reach- 
ing a high-point in spiritual experience, gives utterance to his 
joyous, comfort-bringing conviction in one of the most exalted 
declarations that ever fell from human lips. 

I Know That My Redeemer Liveth 

This bold sentence expresses a holy conviction and certainty. 
These are not the words of unbelief. 

After strong trial of affliction, some are tempted to denial of 
God. ''There is no God," they say. What an unholy conviction, 
if in their hearts they really cherish such a thought ! Others ad- 
mit that there is a God, but charge him with cruelty and injus- 
tice. Again, what an unholy conviction! What a comfortless 
assertion ! Then there is the company of the doubting, the uncer- 
tain. They hardly know what to think. But they incline to unbe- 
lief rather than to the sweet assurance of faith. 

Job speaks with holy conviction: "I know." What refresh- 
ing words! He has fought against and vanquished the demon 
of infidelity. He has laid the specter of doubt. He has come out 
of the dark night of uncertainty into the bright and beautiful 
day of certain knowledge. Despite his sad plight, he rests happy 
in the words: ''I know." 

The certainty which characterizes Job's words is all the 
stronger because of the trials endured. Man does not develop, 
in days of comparative ease, as he does in days of tribulation. 
"The days that try men's souls" are the days that make men 
strong — if they know how to use their opportunities. As the 
muscles of the body are toughened by severe exercise, so does 



Xg FUNEBAL SERMONS 

the discipline of the soul passing through the fiery trial make 
for spiritual strength. 

Job's knowledge relates to a glorious fact: ''My Redeemer 
liveth." The word Redeemer calls to mind the ancient institu- 
tion of the Goel — the next of kin, the avenger. A man oppressed 
with poverty, a home invaded by the ruthless murderer might 
look to the next of kin for help. Job declares his confidence 
in an avenger who will rise to defend him. He will be taken 
care of. His wrongs will be righted. His own lips fail him: the 
lips of another will eloquently and effectually plead his cause. 
Job's hands hang helpless: another's hands are stretched to help. 
A mighty Goel, avenger, is quickly coming to the rescue ! 

Job was probably not conscious of the deep and wonderful 
meaning of the sentence he uttered, and perhaps did not realize 
that he was putting into the lips of men of all times one of the 
mighty words of the ages. He was not fully conscious of the 
Redeemer's person and work. Yet, despite his limitations, he 
knew one thing clearly — his next of kin, his avenger, lived and 
would save. To this truth he clung with a faith which could not 
be shaken. He knew that there was a Goel, or Redeemer, and he 
rested in the knowledge that this Redeemer was a friend and 
Saviour. 

If Job, in those far-off, misty centuries, cherished, by the grace 
of God, such a faith, what excuse is there for us to whom such 
fulness of knowledge has been given? Christ, our Vindicator and 
Avenger, has come. Satan, sin, and death have done their utmost 
to ruin us. We are by nature spiritually poverty-stricken. The 
passing years have materially added to our debt and the per- 
plexities which of necessity ensue. But our desperate case has 
been taken in hand by a great challenger. Jesus Christ, the 
world's Redeemer, the God-man, who has fulfilled all righteous- 
ness, who has made perfect blood-atonement, who has risen from 
the dead and now, in heaven, pleads our cause is the great Goel. 



I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH 19 

He has dispersed our foes. He has spoken into our darkness. He 
has brought us to faith. We live because he lives. Our cause is 
won. 

Often did the confident and triumphant words of Job come 
to the lips of our deceased brother. Familiar, through wide read- 
ing and prolonged study, with the many modern attempts to dis- 
credit the Gospel, to rob Christ of his majesty, to destroy 
Christ's work — even, at times, bewildered, and surrendering to 
questionings and doubts — our brother nevertheless found no 
peace or happiness in these liberal tendencies and movements. 
Though driven, for a while, to a quasi-assent to philosophies, 
falsely so-called, these never became dear to his heart, and he 
fought desperately against them even as a drowning man fights 
for his life. He discovered that many of the theories, which had 
captivated his mind, were speculations, unsupported by proof. 
His associates were brilliant men,' bold thinkers, but only 
too often led away by pseudo-science. In their companionship, 
their intellectual conversation, their scholarly attainments, their 
culture and refinement, he found some measure of satisfaction. 
Notwithstanding the charm and glamor thus thrown around him, 
he often felt homesick. He longed for something different, some- 
thing better, something to satisfy head and heart. Scholarship, 
culture, fame, were poor substitutes for the living God. Happily 
even in the darkest day he had not wholly cast aside the Book 
his mother had taught him to prize. Tender memories of an old- 
fashioned home, of old-fashioned parents and piety, could not 
lightly be forgotten. There were moments when he turned to 
the Sacred Book. The Spirit of God once again had an oppor- 
tunity to work in his heart. The operations of divine grace were 
not in vain. Our talented friend came upon a day when beset- 
ting fears and doubts vanished, when humble faith in the Sav- 
ior once again had a place in his heart. It was a precious day 
when our brother could say: *'I know that my Redeemer liveth.'' 



20 FUNERAL SERMONS 

**I know that my Redeemer lives: 
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!" 

Job might not know how his deliverance would be effected, but 
he was certain that he had a mighty friend and deliverer whose 
salvation would appear in due time. In this conviction he had 
rest and peace. He had no need to worry. He was comforted. 
Poverty, loss of loved ones, physical loathsomeness, could not 
shake his faith in the unseen Redeemer. He felt that his cause 
was in good hands. 

The friend whose mortal remains we lay in the grave today 
was continually comforted by the sweet sentence I have chosen 
for my text. This was to him no mere religious commonplace — a 
thing to be said formally and mechanically. He had proved it to 
be a living word. It expressed his inmost faith. He had lived 
through bitter experiences, but had finally come to peace in God. 
He repeated this passage over and over again. He constantly 
revolved it in his mind. He delighted in looking at it from 
every angle, always seeking to discover in it new bounties, even 
as the facets of the diamond exposed at different angles reveal 
unexpected beauties. With this word on his lips our brother 
died. 

My mourning friends : What rich comfort the text brings you. 
You, his wife, understood, as did no other human being, his soul 
struggles. You sympathized with him. With earnest prayers, 
with your unfaltering faith, with your never-ceasing hope, with 
your devout use of the Scriptures, you were a real helper. How 
precious to your soul ought this text to be ! It has for you such 
blessed and tender associations. Day by day, you will ponder it 
and draw strength out of it. In the dark hour through which 
you are now passing think of your Goel, your Redeemer, who lives 
as your Savior, reigns as your King, and as your Advocate pleads 
your cause in heaven. Let this word be a bond of fellowship 
between you and your Redeemer, and through faith in the living 



I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH 21 

Redeemer may you be united in spiritual fellowship with your 
loved one. 

Young people are hero-worshipers. They admire the pow^erful, 
the learned, the successful. You sons and daughters had a hero right 
in your own family. Your father had rich and varied knowledge ; 
he earnestly and persistently sought the truth. He was a good father 
to you. He watched over you and cared for you. He sought to pro- 
tect you from every evil. He endeavored to promote your ad- 
vancement in every direction — physical, mental, moral, and spir- 
itual. And he was your companion. He loved to be with you, 
and never were you happier than when in the company of your 
parents. Never will you hear this text without being reminded 
of your father's thoughtfulness and tenderness, and especially of 
his triumphant faith. Oh, I beseech you, let the same faith dwell 
in you which dwelt in your father's heart. Then, too, will a fond 
mother ever have reason to rejoice in her children. 

May I say just a word to you who, professionally and socially, 
were associated with the deceased? You respected and admired 
your friend. He was a congenial companion. To all of you, I 
have reason to believe, he testified of his joy in Christ. Men 
engaged as you are, need hardly be reminded of the danger to 
which you are daily exposed. Ambition, pride, success have slain 
their tens of thousands. You too need a Savior. Learning, suc- 
cess, and the like will not save you. I sincerely hope that all of 
you can say: '^I know that my Redeemer lives." Or, if any of 
you must say in the plaintive words of the poet, 

**The night is dark. 

And I am far from home,'' 

may you not be content to remain where you are, but seek and 
find the truth as it is in Jesus, the truth which Job found and 
confessed. 



22 FUNERAL SERMONS 

You have heard and been thrilled by the soprano aria, **I 
Know That My Eedeemer Liveth," from the *' Messiah" of Han- 
del. The composer seems to have caught something of the great 
confidence which inspired Job. ''I know." The words are re- 
peated. Then with what elevation but withal the beautiful com- 
posure and strength of one certain of his faith rings out the mes- 
sage which, whether in spoken word or in enrapturing song, has 
both comforted and stirred the hearts of myriads of the broken- 
hearted. May you and I be enabled, by the Spirit of God, to say 
and sing: 

"I know that my Redeemer lives: 

What comfort this sweet sentence gives! 
He lives, he lives, who once was dead, 
He lives, my ever-living Head. 

*'He lives, all glory to his name! 
He lives, my Jesus, still the same; 

the sweet joy this sentence gives, 

1 know that my Eedeemer lives!'* 

Amen. 



BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH! 
By Rev. W. Hoppe, D. D. 

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were 
ready went in with htm to the marriage: and the door was shut." — Matt. 
25: 10. 

Occasion: For a Devout Church Member 

Under various figures our Lord Jesus Christ tries to call 
attention to the nearness of his coming. The more insistent he 
is in the message the more careless men seem to become. Yet 
there is no subject about which men ask questions as much as 
about the end of the world and about the judgment. They would 
know the exact hour of this occurrence. They desire to know 
the character of this judgment. This is neither idle curiosity 
nor yet a purpose to heed Jesus' call to repentance and a new 
life in him. In his self-reliance man feels that he is able to cope 
with the situation on his own terms and with his own capabili- 
ties. It has become customary for men today to speak of them- 
selves and of others, especially of those who have died, in the 
most commendatory manner. A man-made moral standard is 
all-sufficient. Faith and dependence upon Jesus Christ for salva- 
tion have been discarded as useless and unnecessary adjuncts. 
The power of the Holy Spirit has become void, for the judgment 
will be according to man's righteousness and his conception of 
the good. The parable from which our text is taken would show 
us the falsity of all this. The teaching of Christ and his Apostles 
is very clear on this subject. 

To the man who depends on his own morality, it may be 
discomfiting to know that a righteous and just Judge shall sit 

3 



24 FUNERAL SEE MONS 

in judgment at the last day. To the Christian this is the source 
of the greatest assurance and confidence. The most consoling 
article of faith is the confession which a Christian makes of 
Christ — "I believe that thou shalt come to be my Judge." Nor 
does he think of this Judge as of an austere and cruel man 
seeking to bring destruction and condemnation on his creatures, 
but rather as of the Bridegroom who comes to take home with 
him the bride of his choice and purchase. Whether it be the end 
of an individual life or the end of the world, to the Christian it is 
the cry which is heard at midnight — 

"Behold, the Bridegroom Cometh!" 
I. 

There is no more glorious prospect than this. To the question, 
''Shall I be saved?" the answer comes concerning his coming. 
Our desire is to penetrate into the unknown of eternity and learn 
to know what God has hidden from our view. But it is not nec- 
essary for us to know more than that the Day of the Lord is at 
hand. Life in all its various activities and experiences has been 
a succession of limitations and disappointments. We expected 
so much. There were such brilliant prospects before us. Our 
parents had such high hopes of what we should accomplish in 
the world. Whether the young die in their youth or whether the 
old totter to the grave in their old age, life has been mostly a 
shut door. All the expectations, prospects, hopes have practically 
failed of realization. Yet men hope on for the vain things which 
cannot endure beyond this fleeting and passing life. The fact 
that they have not attained hitherto does not deter them from 
hoping and striving after the same things in the future. 

Even the possession of these earthly goods and pleasures does 
not afford lasting satisfaction. The acquiring of some makes men 
hunger for more. The more they get the more they desire. So 



BEHOLD, THE BRIDEaROOM COMETH! 25 

the very process of getting these possessions causes pain and 
anxiety. The foolishness of all this becomes apparent when 
another prospect is open to us which does not deceive. While 
men are striving after things they can never really call their 
own, God has prepared for them and offers to them that which 
endures. He has created them so as to enable them to look 
upwards. Yet their eyes are riveted to the ground. Although 
he has made them in his own image, sin has so distorted it as to 
make it unrecognizable. More than that it has so changed his 
whole nature as to make him spurn and despise what God would 
give him for good and deliberately chooses that which is for his 
own hurt. 

However discouraging this may be, it does not alter God's 
proffer. The glorious prospect of sin forgiven, of the life of the 
new creature in Christ Jesus and of the life in his presence, 
forever remains. The Bridegroom comes and his own await his 
coming with longing and ever watch thereunto by prayer and 
supplications. To a great extent we have lost every sense of the 
Lord's presence and of his coming again soon. But amid all the 
turmoils and cares of this present life there remains this assur- 
ance that Jesus Christ is coming. The old things shall then have 
passed away. This it is that makes life worth the living. The 
bride shall not be left desolate, her Bridegroom cometh to her. 
In these days of waiting the bride is filled with the most joyous 
anticipation of the things that shall be hers in that life with her 
Bridegroom. She has been promised much and she knows that in 
that day when all things shall be revealed she shall receive 
beyond her highest expectations, for she shall be with her Lord 
and shall see him whom she loves. 

II. 

Amid these glorious prospects anxious fears crowd in. The 
cause of these fears is sin and, therefore, they continue to harass 



26 FUNERAL SERMONS 

the soul so persistently. When Satan finds that he cannot assail 
our assurance of salvation he begets the fear of this life. How 
men worry about the competence of this world ! We have enough 
for today, but we fear that which the morrow may hold in store. 
This fear is not necessarily, although generally, one of what we 
shall eat and what we shall drink and wherewithal we shall be 
clothed. We exercise ourselves mostly with this thought and 
spend our days in figuring on the problem of dollars and cents. 
The life of the majority of human beings is occupied with con- 
cern about today and tomorrow, with the animal side of our 
nature. To this must be added the fear concerning health, station 
in life, honor among men with all their attendant train of thoughts 
and anxieties. The future is so dark and as years go on the 
feeling of helplessness takes possession of men's hearts and they 
tremble at the prospect. 

After the conscience has been aroused a new fear enters the 
heart. It is the fear of sin. The remembrance of the past life 
with its transgressions and iniquities awakens misgivings about 
the future. With the pardon, the proneness to sin has not been 
removed. The old Adam remains. A new battle must be waged 
each day. That of yesterday gives no assurance of victory tomor- 
row. The new relationship of sons requires a new obedience, yet 
the old tendency to sin binds with rigid fetters and seems to pre- 
clude any possibility of final victory. St. Paul experienced this 
and is forced to exclaim: ''O wretched man that I am! Who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death?" 

This fear begets another fear. With anxiety the question 
comes again arid again: Shall I be saved? "Who shall abide in 
thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?" Can a sin- 
ner so vile ever stand in God's holy presence? There is no 
weapon which the devil wields with such skill and evident delight 
as this. When the Christian looks to himself he finds nothing 
but sin and death, but when he turns his eyes Christward and 



BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM OOMETHI 27 

trusts, new light and new hope come to him. Nothing can please 
the devil more than that we rely on our own works and right- 
eousness and then fail in the final test. What if sore trials come ! 
What if our life here be marked by failure in whatever we have 
undertaken! What if in our weakness we have not always 
obeyed! What if the world condemn us! "Let no man glory 
in men: for all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or 
Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or 
things to come ; all are yours ; and ye are Christ 's ; and Christ is 
God's." In the face of such promises the poor human heart has 
no just right to be anxiously afraid. **Who is he that condem- 
neth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who 
is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession 
for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall trib- 
ulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or 
peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than con- 
querors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that 
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor 
any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." It is on this account that the 
Apostle can write: ^'I thank God through Jesus Christ our 
Lord." 

Lack of confidence in Jesus Christ as a personal Savior pro- 
duces a fear of death. There is nothing in human life so pitiable 
as this fear. The bride is not afraid of the hour when her Bride- 
groom is to appear. Her heart rejoices in contemplation of the 
happy moment. Her only anxiety is that she may not be ready 
nor yet meet for him when he comes. Her dread is not occa- 
sioned by her leaving her home and going to live with him. Yet 
that is the fear so many Christians have. They dread to leave 
this house of clay and fear for those things which may be here- 
after in eternity. 



28 FUNERAL SERMONS 

**Who would burdens bear 
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, 
But that the dread of something after death, 
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn 
No traveler returns, puzzles the will 
And makes us rather bear the ills we have 
Than fly to others that we know not of?" 

To the Christian it is not an ''undiscover'd country." It is the 
Father's house, the heavenly home. It is the place where Christ 
Jesus has gone and to it his soul desires to go. 

III. 

But this cannot take away the bitter reproaches which his 
disloyalty and indifference to his Lord produce. Only too often 
these come too late. Life is spent for the world and the things 
this world stands for and at the last moment as death approaches 
the desire comes to set at rights the things which have been 
neglected for so long. Then the pastor, the ambassador for 
Christ, is called in to pray for the soul's eternal welfare and to 
give assurance that all is well. Too often he is convinced that 
the door is already shut. It is the case of the foolish of this 
world who depend so fully upon themselves and their own work 
and merit as to have forgotten the oil for their lamps. The closed 
door shuts out all possibility of entrance. No reliance on human 
aid, nor indeed any help given us by our fellow-man will avail to 
unbar that door. A life that is given to self, to the world and to 
sin will not be found in Christ, and only they who are in Christ 
have hope of entering with him before the door is shut. No man 
shall stand in the perfection of another human being. In fact no 
man can do more than is needed for his own salvation, yea, he 
can add nothing to that salvation by all the good works which 
he may do. No pope, nor council, nor priest can sell superero- 
gated works of Christ or the saints. ' ' Could there be a prophetic 



BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH! 29 

irony in the advice of the wise virgins to the foolish, 'Go ye to 
them that sell'? The irony is terrible when taken in connection 
with the sequel, that when they returned with the oil so pro- 
cured it availed them nothing." 

These bitter reproaches assail the righteous as well as the 
wicked. The parable tells us that they all slept. Even the wise 
virgins could not watch as their Lord had commanded them to 
do. But their sleep was not that of security. The foolish virgins 
had waited with preparing to meet the Bridegroom until they 
heard the cry of his coming. Then they were not ready for his 
coming. It is the experience of so many today. They are con- 
stantly putting off to some more convenient time that which the 
Lord has commanded them to do now. However uncertain the 
time of his coming may be, the event itself is absolutely sure. 
Amid all the vicissitudes of this life this one thing alone is posi- 
tive and unchangeable: "The Bridegroom cometh." 

IV. 

What solemn lessons these bitter reproaches teach us! 
"Teaching us that, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present 
world ; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing 
of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Whatever of 
failure the past days of our life may have recorded; today, 
tomorrow should open a new page wherein is written in large 
letters: "The Lord he is God. Him will I serve." Unless the 
reproaches shall continue in their bitterness we must not only 
acknowledge with sincere sorrow and repentance these our mani- 
fold transgressions, but must fervently desire the blessedness of 
those whose sins are forgiven and whose transgressions are cov- 
ered and long for those consolations which are promised unto 
them that mourn. Then will we further confess and pray: "It 



30 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



is our solemn purpose to amend our sinful lives, and to live more 
godly, righteously and soberly than we have hitherto done. "We 
beseech thee, Lord, to enable us, through the assistance of thy 
Holy Spirit, to carry this resolution into effect." Our sins, our 
transgressions, every evil inclination of our heart, every willing 
to do the wrong should be a powerful incentive in our lives to 
eschew evil and do good ; to seek peace and ensue it. 



But this is no time for earthly sorrow. The world may mourn 
without hope, but the child of God has a lively hope. The anx- 
ious fears and bitter reproaches have not been able to take away 
the glorious prospects. Therefore he looks into the future with 
joyous hope. The promises of God do not lie in the far distant 
future. They are a very present posssession of his children. 
They know that their sins are forgiven. The earnest of this is 
given them in the one and only sacrifice which avails for sin, 
the crucifixion of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. They 
need not hope, that at some time in eternity, after they have 
paid a penalty in purgatory, will they receive assurance that 
their sins are blotted out. Now that Christ has died, yea, rather 
is risen again, they know that the last penalty of their guilt has 
been paid. Their sins are forgiven as abundantly and com- 
pletely as Jesus Christ hath merited by his sufferings and death, 
and commanded to be preached by the Gospel throughout the 
world. This is the source of joy and peace to the believing heart. 
There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ 
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

This surety of forgiveness of sins is the earnest of salvation 
in Christ, for where there is forgiveness of sins there life and 
salvation are also. As Christ has suffered, the Just for the 
unjust, he obtained salvation for us. "Though he were a Son, 



BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH! 31 

yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and 
being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation 
unto all them that obey him.'' As St. Paul writes to the Thes- 
salonians: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salva- 
tion through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 
This salvation in Jesus Christ becomes an ever surer reality by a 
life hid with Christ in God. 

But God has increased our joy and our hope by the promise 
of eternal life. Here again our thoughts are not directed to 
something that shall be after this life on earth. As we stand in 
the presence of the reaper, Death, our confidence is the surer. 
''And this is eternal life, that they might know thee the only 
true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." In a certain 
sense eternal life is to come after we have finished our course 
here in this world, yet it is just as true that we have it now. It 
enhances our joy and strengthens our hope to be able to look 
beyond and to know that God has reserved unspeakable things 
for his children in heaven above with himself. Again we lay 
away the earthly form of a pilgrim and stranger in the full hope 
of the resurrection to eternal life. Sorrow fills our heart at the 
separation from a friend. We shall miss the companionship and 
love, and our hearts are heavy. But we may not permit selfish 
thoughts to intervene between us and our God. Even in the hour 
of bereavement and sorrow we cannot but hear the midnight 
cry: "The Bridegroom cometh!" 

In him is our joyous hope. At last the burdens of life are 
removed. Its sins and transgressions are ended. Blessed is he 
who has been found of the Lamb that taketh away the sins of 
the world. What a loving warning Jesus gives them that are his ! 
Scarcely had the cry been heard at midnight when the Bride- 
groom came. Then there is no longer time for preparation. As 
soon as he comes, he will enter into the marriage-hall with them 
that are his and the door is shut. After this life comes the judg- 



32 FUNERAL SERMONS 

ment of all men. For you and every one to whom death comes in 
the natural way it is the determining time. That is the midnight 
cry. After that there is no further time for preparation. Those 
who have not supplied themselves with oil will find the door shut. 
The Lord Jesus desires that all shall be ready when he comes. 

How necessary then for us to watch and pray! The feast of 
the marriage of the King's Son to his chosen bride is at hand. 
It is no time for gloom and despair. As we draw nearer to that 
glorious event our hearts should be filled with joy, our mouth 
with laughter and our tongues with singing. ''The Lord is at 
hand." It is the harvest time when men rejoice and are glad. 
Death cannot rob us of this our joy in Christ. His entrance into 
our family circle may disquiet for a moment, but in Christ is 
our joy, in Christ is our salvation. ''Death, where is thy sting? 
Grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God, which giv- 
eth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." No power 
of hell, no thraldom of death can overthrow our hope, our joy- 
ous hope. Christ, our door into the kingdom, will keep us against 
that day and grant us abundant entrance by an open door into 
eternal life. ' ' God is pledged ; weak doubtings hence ! This shall 
be my confidence." Amen. 



THE CHRISTIAN'S COMFORT IN VIEW OF DEATH 
By Prof. J. Stump, D. D. 

**Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear uo evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort 
me." — Psalm 23: 4. 

Occasion: For a Christian 

The psalm of which these words form a part is one of the 
most beautiful and familiar of all the psalms. It is a psalm 
learned in the days of early childhood, and cherished in after 
years as a precious possession. It expresses the believer's confi- 
dence in God's loving care and protection amid all the varying 
circumstances of life. In joy and in sorrow, in mirth or in grief, 
the believer is able to say, ''The Lord is my shepherd; I shall 
not want." And today in the midst of the deep shadows of 
affliction the psalm comes to us with a consoling message. 

The imagery of the psalm is drawn from the early scenes of 
David's life. He had been a shepherd, and he knew by experience 
the tender feeling which a true shepherd has for his sheep. He 
calls God his shepherd. And in so doing he voices his confidence 
in God's care and protection. In the midst of danger and death 
he is safe. No harm shall befall him. ''Though I walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death," he says, "I will fear no 
evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort 
me." 

Let us, on the basis of our text, consider 

The Christian's Confidence in View of Death, 
noting 

I. The Solemn Event to Which the Psalmist Looks Forward. 



34 FUNERAL SERMONS 

II. The Camforting Language in Which He Describes It. 
III. The Confidence with Which He Views Its Coming. 

I. The Solemn Event, to Which the Psalmist Looks Forward. 

We must all descend into the valley. The psalmist realized this 
solemn truth. The time will come when he must walk through 
the valley of the shadow of death. And as the psalmist realized 
it, so every believer realizes it. He knows that he must die. He 
looks forward to death. He knows that however much death may 
delay, there is no escape from it at last. For ''as for man, his 
days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For 
the wind passeth over it, and it is gone ; and the place thereof 
shall know it no more." "It is appointed unto men once to 
die." And "there is no discharge in that war." "No man hath 
power over the Spirit to retain the spirit." "They that trust 
in their wealth and boast themselves in the multitude of their 
riches; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor 
give to God a ransom for him that he should still live." At best 
"the days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by 
reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength 
labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away." 

The Christian knows that Christ has redeemed him from 
eternal death; but he knows just as surely that there is no 
escape for him from the temporal death. He must die, in order 
that his body may rise again a new body, transformed and 
glorified and fitted to be the eternal abode of the glorified soul. 

We must all descend into the valley. We descend by various 
paths, some by one disease and some by another, some by linger- 
ing sickness, and others by sudden accident. We descend at 
various ages, some in early infancy, some in youth, some in the 
maturity of manhood or womanhood, and some in old age. The 
path and the time are determined by the Shepherd. He leadeth 
us. Our times are in his hands. He has numbered even the hairs 



THE CHRISTIAN'S COMFORT IN DEATH 35 

of our head. The time when he will lead us into the valley may 
be much nearer than we think. Who can tell what even a day 
may bring forth? Two weeks ago none of us imagined that we 
would assemble here today around the casket of our departed 
brother. Today we are well: tomorrow we may be dead. Who 
knows how near his end may be? How many persons are today 
planning for long years in the future! But will they live to 
carry out their plans? God alone knows. 

It is a solemn prospect. It means a saying farewell to earth 
and our dear ones. It means a closing of our eyes forever on the 
scenes of this world. It means a going away never to return. It 
means the laying down of our life work. We shall not return to 
complete what we may have left unfinished. We shall not come 
back to perform what we may have omitted or neglected. We 
shall never be seen again in our homes and places of employment. 
The places that knew us shall know us no more. As we contem- 
plate this prospect, what an incentive it forms for us to do what 
our hands find to do while it is day, before the night cometh 
when no man can work. 

It means a going forth alone. On other journeys our friends 
arid relatives may accompany us. Their companionship may cheer 
and encourage us. But when we descend into the valley we go 
alone. Friends may be faithful and true; and our dear ones 
may love us with a love that is deep and tender. But they can- 
not go with us beyond the grave. 

It means a going forth to our eternal destiny. When death 
comes the period of probation is over. The time allotted to us 
for hearing and obeying the Gospel is past. The time for eternal 
rewards or retribution is at hand. The descent into the valley is 
the transition to eternal joy or woe. With it our destiny is 
determined forever. We go to hear Christ say: ''Come, ye blessed 
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the 
foundation of the world," or to hear him say, ''Depart from me, 



36 FUNERAL SERMONS 

ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his 
angels." Surely death is a solemn and momentous event. All 
the changes in this earthly life are insignificant by comparison 
with the change which we call death. 

II. The Comforting Language in Which the Psalmist De- 
scribes Death. He does not say ''the valley of death," but the 
"valley of the shadow of death." For the believer there is no 
death; there is only the shadow of death. Since Jesus has died 
and risen again, death is robbed of its sting and the grave of its 
victory. What we call death is only the entrance upon a new and 
glorious life above. Trusting in Jesus the believer is able to say, 
"I would not live alway; no, welcome the tomb! Since Jesus 
has lain there, I dread not its gloom. ' ' Through the death and 
resurrection of Jesus death has become for the Christian the 
portal to eternal bliss. It is only a sleep with a blessed awak- 
ening. It is a falling asleep amid the toil and turmoil of earth 
to awake amid the rest and peace of heaven. Death is only a 
shadow of what it would have been without Christ, and of what 
it is for those who are living without Christ in the world. 

What a comfort this is to the dying Christian ! It is not death 
that comes upon him, but only the shadow of death. It is only 
a change for the better: a laying aside of mortality to put on 
immortality. For when the trumpet shall sound, the dead shall 
be raised incorruptible ; the soul shall be reunited with the 
glorified body; and transformed in body and soul the believer 
shall enter in and dwell with Christ forever. 

And what a comfort this is to the bereaved! They see their 
dear one passing away. But they know that he is only falling 
asleep in the Lord, and that this sleep is a blessed one. The 
waking shall be in eternal joy. For St. Paul tells us, ''I would 
not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which 
are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no 
hope. For if we believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, 



THE OHEISTIAN'S COMPORT IN DEATH 37 

even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.'* 
'^Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits 
of them that slept. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ 
shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ 
the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming.'' 
"As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear 
the image of the heavenly." 

III. The Confidence with Which the Psalmist Views the Com- 
ing of Death. He says, ' ' Though I walk through the valley of the 
shadow of death, I will fear no evil." And why? Because ''thou art 
with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." In the darkest 
and loneliest valley the sheep is safe, because the shepherd is 
with it, guarding it from danger and protecting it from harm. 
The Christian is safe in death, because God is with him and 
keeping him. He goes forth alone, and yet not alone; for the 
Good Shepherd is with him to guard him with his rod and staff. 
The Good Shepherd who is with his sheep always certainly will 
not forsake him in the hour of his greatest need. He will uphold 
the believer, and will guide him in safety to his heavenly home. 
As the end approaches he says to the believer: "Fear thou not; 
for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will 
strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee 
with the right hand of my righteousness." If nature recoils at 
the thought of the dissolution of soul and body, the believer 
hears the tender voice of his Shepherd saying, "Fear not; for I 
have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art 
mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with 
thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; for I 
am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." 

Yea, the Christian must descend into the valley. But he fears 
not ; for he knoweth Christ is with him and keeps him in safety. 
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me," he says. The Shep- 
herd leads his sheep through the dark valley; but he does so 



38 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



only in order that he may bring the sheep to his heavenly fold, 
to feed in green pastures, and to rest beside the still waters. For 
the relation between the Shepherd and his sheep is a deep, tender 
and abiding relation. Christ says, ' ' My sheep hear my voice ; and 
I know them and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal 
life; and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck 
them out of my hands." 

Let the blessed truths of our text comfort you, my sorrowing 
friends, in this hour of your bereavement. You know that he 
whom you mourn was a believer, and a sheep of Christ's flock. 
You were witnesses of his faith and Christian patience. He has 
gone into the valley; but it is only the valley of the shadow of 
death. And he has gone not alone, but accompanied and guarded 
by his Shepherd. The darkness of the valley was illumined for 
him by faith. Its terrors were removed by the comforting pres- 
ence of the Shepherd with his rod and staff. And you have the 
blessed consolation that after his days of intense suffering he is 
now at rest — a rest not merely of the body, but the rest of the 
people of God, the rest of those who have fallen asleep in Christ. 

God's ways are not our ways, neither are his thoughts our 
thoughts. We cannot understand the mystery of his dealings, nor 
explain why this heavy blow should have fallen upon you. But 
this we know, that God is love ; and that in all his dealings with 
his children he is guided by love. All things, even bereavement 
and grief, shall work together for good to them that love God. 
And we know that even as the Shepherd's rod and staff comfort 
the believer as he descends into the valley of the shadow of death, 
so they also comfort those of his flock who remain behind under 
the shadow of affliction and bereavement. He will not leave you 
comfortless, but will strengthen and uphold you. Do you but 
cling firmly to him as your Savior and trust in him as your 
loving Shepherd. Then you will be able to say even amid your 
tears, "He doeth all things well." And though now your eyes 



THE CHRISTIAN'S COMFORT IN DEATH 39 

are holden and you cannot penetrate the mystery of his dealings 
with you, some day you shall know and understand that all has 
been done in love and wisdom. For ''now we see through a glass 
darkly, but then face to face ; now we know in part, but then we 
shall know even as we also are known." Amen. 



THE NATION'S DUTY AT ITS CHIEFTAIN'S BIER 

By Rev. W. N. Harley 

'*. . . Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the 
things that are God's . . ."—Mark 12: 17. 

Preached on the Occasion of William McKinley's Death 

It seemed to me that no word of God that presented itself to 
memory for this sad occasion was quite so appropriate as these 
words of our Master: ''Render to Caesar the things that are 
Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," for these words 
ask that we be loyal to that which is symbolized by the flag and 
to that which is symbolized by the cross. And now that the flag 
is draped in mourning for our departed President, it is altogether 
in keeping with our Saviour's command, as well as with our 
feelings of patriotism, that we render that tribute to his memory 
which his official position, his character and his services demand, 
for the Lord would have us honor in death the servant whom 
he asks us to obey in life. On the other hand, it is the duty of 
every citizen in this hour of national grief to bow the knee to 
God and raise the heart in prayer to him by whom the powers 
that be are ordained and from whom cometh every good and per- 
fect gift, for he who tells us to render to Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's, also tells us to render to God the things that are 
God's. Let us, therefore, consider 

The Nation's Duty at Its Chieftain's Bier 

According to these words of our Master it is : I. To honor the 
ruler's memory; and II. To render God the homage due his 
name. 

40 



NATION'S DUTY AT CHIEFTAIN'S BIER 4I 



Today as we are called upon to weave a chaplet of evergreen 
for the casket of our Chief Magistrate and look over his course 
of life, we find much that deserves kindly mention and much 
that serves as an example to the humblest toiler and the greatest 
statesman. When a man like this stands in Caesar's place we can 
afford to honor him. He was (1) our President, (2) a Christian 
ruler, (3) a man strong in his domestic affections, and (4) his 
course in life is a civic inspiration to the youth of the land. 

1. Had he been no more than the President of our Republic, 
faithful in the discharge of his duty as God gave him to see it, 
we would this day honor his memory, for "the powers that be 
are ordained of God" (Rom. 13: 1). Civil government is a 
human necessity and a divine appointment. Its office is to protect 
its citizens, to preserve peace and order, to execute justice, and, 
in short, to promote the common weal. That is the reason God 
has inaugurated Caesar and placed the sword in his hand (Rom. 
13: 4), and that is why he says, "Honor the king" (I Peter 2: 
17). Our departed President held this office, and held it with 
honor. Genuine was the love he bore for the old flag, that 
heaven-born emblem, with its red from heaven's morning glow, 
w^hite from its fleecy chariots, and blue from its azure dome, 
pleading for love, purity and loyalty. In his conduct and bearing 
as a statesman there was much of the dignity of the old school, 
and in his campaigns he was not wont to stoop to the all-too- 
common level of defamation. As his mortal remains are being 
borne to the tomb, let these things be remembered to his honor 
as a statesman. 

2. But he was something more than President — he was a 
Christian ruler. In times like these, and in a place like this, this 
feature dare not go unnoticed. He confessed the Savior before 
men, and in his exalted position was not ashamed of the Gospel 



42 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



of Christ. "With commendable regularity he occupied his pew 
in the church where he worshiped. In this the manhood of the 
nation may well find an example. And so far as eye could see he 
was true to his profession. When the assassin's bullet struck him 
he said, "May God forgive him," thus forgiving his enemy as 
the Christ upon the cross taught us to do. When he felt that he 
was gliding into the great beyond, making the transition from 
life to life more abundant, he softly murmured, ''Nearer, my 
God, to thee, nearer to thee," and said: ''Good-by, good-by, all. 
It's God's way. His will be done, not ours." An example like 
this is worth something. Today, when the nation in its sorrow, 
and love, and gratitude twines a wreath to place upon his tomb, 
the sweetest blossom in it, and the only amaranthine flower, will 
be his confession of Christ. 

3. His domestic affections were particularly strong, and his 
life was beautiful in its devotion to mother and wife. His love 
for children — a commendable heart-quality in any man — was 
also conspicuous. During his short respite from official cares he 
would always, on reaching his home, go to the spot where his 
little children, and, later, his mother, lay buried. The loving 
care which he bestowed for decades upon an invalid wife is well 
known, and, so far as I am aware, not even in the heat of political 
campaigns was his fidelity to plighted troth ever questioned. 
But particularly memorable is a scene in bleak December. Word 
was sent to the executive mansion that mother was dying. Back 
came the message, "Tell mother I'll be there." And the Presi- 
dent of the Republic sat by the bedside through the long vigil 
of the night holding the hand of the little, plain, old mother in 
his until the early gloaming, when her spirit took its flight — an 
example of filial love for every man and boy in the land. God 
bless the boy who loves his mother, and God bless the boy of 
whom his mother may be proud. Thus we must pay another trib- 



NATION'S DUTY AT CHIEFTAIN'S BIER 43 

ute to our lamented President, and say: He was a man whose 
memory the motherhood of the nation can love and cherish. 

4. There is yet another thing. Such lives as his are a civic 
inspiration to the young men of the nation. He was born in a 
plain frame house in a small town in Ohio. His body lay in state 
at the national Capitol. From an humble but honest home he 
was promoted step by step by his fellow-citizens until he was 
twice made the recipient of the highest honor at the disposal of 
this nation — an honor which we hold to be the highest civic 
distinction on earth. It shows that character counts that dili- 
gence is rewarded, and, by strong contrast, shows youth the folly 
and sin of dissipating time and talent. True is Solomon's proverb, 
and ever true it will be: "The hand of the diligent shall bear 
rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute" (Prov. 12: 24). 
And, furthermore, it illustrates once more the possibilities of a 
life in this land of the free, no matter how lowly the cradle or 
what the texture of the counterpane that covers the infant may 
be, and thus increases our love for our country and its free insti- 
tutions. Honor to the man who passed from an humble home in 
our state to the office of chief executive of the nation, and, by the 
grace of the Lord of lords and King of kings, filled it with honor 
to himself and credit to the nation. 

We have thus in our poor way tried to weave a chaplet for 
our departed ruler's bier. We now turn our eyes to the Rock 
and Fortress whence cometh our help. The Savior not only said, 
''Render to Caesar the things that are Csesar's," but he added, 
"and to God the things that are God's." Hence, in keeping with 
his command, and I trust in consonance with the heartfelt desire 
of everyone here, let us in this hour of national grief 

n. 

Render God the homage due his name. "The Lord looketh 
from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men" (Ps. 33: 13). 



44 FUNERAL SERMONS 

He says: ''I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I 
not give to another" (Isa. 42: 8). Therefore in this time of grief 
and need we should reverently look up to heaven and (1) thank 
God for a Christian President and a stable government, (2) take 
to heart the lessons which this instance of mortality teaches, and 
(3) fervently supplicate God's mercy. 

1. Brethren, since the ruler whose death we lament was one 
whom we can honor as a man as well as for the sake of his office, 
it is but meet and proper that we thank our God for having 
given us a Christian President. Sovereigns are by his grace. St. 
Paul calls them ministers of God (Rom. 13 : 14) ; and when God 
gives a people a wise and benevolent ruler it is a mark of favor 
and a blessing which should be acknowledged with devout grati- 
tude. With similar convictions and feelings we should thank 
God for the character and stability of our form of government. 
In some sister republics a change of government, such as has 
taken place here in recent days, would be the signal for commo- 
tion, confusion, or factional revolt. Not so here. The assassin's 
bullet caused the sword to drop from a beloved ruler's hand. 
His lawful successor picked it up. Though the occupant was 
slain, the office survives, no civic troubles ensued, and the gov- 
ernment at Washington still lives. It lives because God reigns 
and wills that it should live. Let us acknowledge this with 
grateful hearts. God has been good to this people — very good; 
every chapter of our history shows it; and in this hour, though 
stricken with grief, let us look up to him and say: "Bless the 
Lord, my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Ps. 
103: 1-2). 

2. Nor should we this day overlook the great and solemn 
lessons which this sad event teaches. 

Death hath "passed upon all men" (Rom. 5: 12). Even the 
greatest men are but mortal, and at the touch of death wither 



NATION'S DUTY AT CHIEFTAIN'S BIER 45 

like the flower at the touch of frost. *'It is appointed unto men 
once to die" (Heb. 9: 27) ; but no man knows the hour that will 
strike his knell. Such events as this which shocked the nation's 
heart only emphasize the uncertain tenure of life and give tongue 
of mute eloquence to the words of the prophet who says: ''Pre- 
pare to meet thy God" (Amos 4: 12). The only way is through 
Christ, for there *'is none other name under heaven given among 
men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4: 12). And if the ruler 
whose death we lament entered heaven 'midst the joy of angels, 
it was not because the President of earth's greatest republic 
passed through its portals, but because a poor sinner came 
washed in the blood of "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world" (John 1: 29). 

But there are other lesssons here — lessons of state. Of old 
the prophet called out: ''Hear all ye people; hearken, earth, 
and all that therein is: and let the Lord God be witness against 
you, the Lord from his holy temple" (Mich. 1:2). And it seems 
to me that this voice comes down through the ages and rings into 
our ears today: "Hear, all ye people!" God says: "Honor the 
king" (I Peter 2: 17). But among us irreverence is a besetting 
sin. Parental authority is taken lightly, the hoary head is hardly 
honored, and on all hands law is not given the high respect to 
which it is entitled, and the highest office of the Republic is 
treated with flippant irreverence by hordes of caricaturists and 
paragraphers at whose cartoons and jokes the nation smiles. 
Know they, know we, that they point their sharpened pencils at 
the heart of the nation? These things must be discountenanced 
— crush the egg or bear the viper's sting. We must teach rever- 
ence for authority. 

Another lesson which this event teaches — this blot which we 
would fain wash from our history with our tears — is that we 
must educate the heart as well as the head. God says: '* Train 
up a child in the way he should go" (Prov. 22: 6) ; he also says: 



45 FUNERAL SERMONS 

''Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance 
of God" (Rom. 13: 2). The man who committed this dastardly 
and wicked deed said: "I did my duty!" Lesser crimes are 
justified on like grounds of duty and right. Men must be edu- 
cated to the highest ideals, and holy motives must be instilled 
into their hearts. Only the religion of Jesus Christ can accom- 
plish this. Cffisar should never make it difficult for holy Mother 
Church to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord. Nothing but the religion of Christ can overcome 
the rank materialism and unbelief which are foes to the noblest, 
the highest, and the best type of patriotism — Christian love of 
country. 

3. Today as we bow our knees to God in this hour of grief, 
let us also remember our sins as a people and supplicate his mercy. 
Our gratitude has not kept pace with the greatness and abun- 
dance of his blessing, and manifold are the national sins of 
which we are guilty and for which he could justly thrust us 
from the covert of his protection. "Sin is a reproach to any peo- 
ple" (Prov. 14: 34). Let us, therefore, implore him to forgive 
us, to strengthen us in our resolve to press forward to a higher 
plane of Christian citizenship, to keep his protecting hand over 
our land, and to help us all to render to Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's and to him. King of kings, the things that are his. 
Then will the seed sown this day in sorrow bring forth sweet 
blossoms and wholesome fruit. "Now unto the King eternal, 
immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory, 
forever and ever. Amen" (I Tim. 1: 17). 



THE BLESSEDNESS OF THOSE WHO DIE IN THE LORD 
By Rev. W. N. Harley 

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." — Rev. 
14: 13. 

Occasion: Preached at the funeral of a woman who died at the 

wash-tub in another person's house where there had 

been a death 

We are come into this place where God's honor dwelleth to 
give and to receive consolation. There is, thank God, a balm for 
heart wounds such as these. A sprig of green always grows out 
of a cranny in a Christian's tomb. And yet, for all that, death 
always brings grief. So far as this dispensation of Divine Provi- 
dence is concerned, there seem to be elements in it which are par- 
ticularly hard to bear. There was the shock of sudden death and 
the dying alone. And yet, each one dies alone — crosses the river 
by himself. As for the rest, were it a matter of choice, I do not 
know but that I would elect a home-going such as this — just slip 
away quietly, without the long days and weeks which require 
the long vigils on the part of others. And, then, to be called 
from the midst of every-day work would also please me, for one 
cannot be better employed than in doing his duty. There is 
wholesome truth in what Mr. Davenport said in the Continental 
Congress on that eventful dark day in 1780 when people thought 
the end of time had come. ''Mr. Speaker," said he, ''it is either 
the day of judgment, or it is not. If it is not, there is no need of 
adjourning. If it is, I desire to be found doing my duty. I move 

47 



48 FUNEEAL SERMONS 

that candles be brought, and that we proceed to business." That 
was sane and noble. Let us never forget that we are serving 
God when we are doing our work in the right way and spirit. 
Nor do I know a more beautiful dying day than this one was. 
There cling to it the holiest and most beautiful associations. 
How fitting for the Christian soul to take its flight from earth 
to heaven on the day that marks the ascension of our Savior to 
the same realm of bliss, and to go when the buds and blossoms 
are bursting open, and the Ascension Day bells are ringing and 
saying, over and over, ''Heavenward! Heavenward!" And yet, 
when, or where, or how one dies is scarcely worth a thought, if 
one but die a Christian. That is the case here. The fairest dia- 
dem that crowns this mother's brow is her Christian profession 
and fidelity, and in that lies our chief comfort. It is the only 
solvent for the grief of death. The reason for it lies largely in 
the nature of love. On account of its character, love is always 
ready to sacrifice its own interests, pleasures, and comforts to 
the welfare of the one loved. Hence the conviction that a loved 
one has gone to heaven causes us to moderate our grief and find 
consolation on account of that loved one's bliss. Love would 
cease to be what it is were it to place its interests and desires 
above the highest good of the object of its affection. Altruism 
would turn into base selfishness were such the case. Consequently 
the bliss of a departed Christian is a consolation to remaining 
Christians. Therefore, that your grief may find surcease, and 
your hearts have comfort, let us turn our attention to : — 

The Blessedness of Those Who Die in the Lord 

The apostle points out two things in which it lies: 

I. They rest from their labors; and 
n. Their works do follow them. 



THOSE WHO DIE IN THE LOED 49 

I. 

The dead in the Lord are blessed because they rest from their 
labors : 

1. At best, this life has sorrows and troubles enough. This 
would not be so hard were it not for something else. We ought 
to be enough of a man, or enough of a woman, to be ready to 
take the thorn with the rose. If this world has sorrows, it also 
has compensating joys. As for the world's work, the thing to do 
is to perform your proper share of it. It is not manly to try to 
get away from it. But there is something else here. In all human 
work there is irksomeness, provocation, imperfection. In all 
human hearts there is restlessness; a longing for something 
higher, something nobler, something better. In all human en- 
deavor there is the falling short of the ideal. In every Christian 
life there is imperfection and sin — the stepping forward, the 
stumbling, the tripping. Now all these things cause labor, and 
labor severe in the degree to which one is intelligently sincere. 
This is the labor of which St. John speaks in the text, for the 
word in the original means a beating, wearing away labor. Prom 
all that sort of thing the dead in the Lord are released. They 
enter a state of perfection; therefore they are blessed. 

2. But note further, the apostle says they rest from their 
labors. That is part of their blessedness. Now rest does not 
mean doing nothing at all. Doing nothing is stagnation or death. 
Rest is change — change of scene, change of position, change of 
activity, change of employment. People have wrong notions of 
rest, just as they have wrong ideas about heaven. 

"Rest is not quitting this busy career; 

E-est is the fitting of self for one's sphere." 

So the rest in heaven is not idleness, because heaven is not a 
place of stagnation and death. I take it that the rest meant here 



50. FUNERAL SERMONS 

is Sabbath rest. The Scriptures elsewhere speak of the rest in 
heaven as a Sabbath. In fact, Sabbath means rest. So the dead 
in the Lord are blessed in their rest, not only negatively, on ac- 
count of certain evils which cannot molest them in heaven, but 
positively, on account of the good things they enjoy -and do. 
There is the Sabbath of eternal worship. How different the 
strains above from those in our tabernacles down here ! What 
bliss to see the Savior face to face — the Savior with whom we 
commune here at the altar under the veil of the sacramental 
mystery! There also is the Sabbath of sacred acquaintance. It 
lies not merely in meeting those of our own little circle who have 
gone before, but in meeting the great family of Mother Church's 
illustrious sons and daughters — patriarchs, apostles, evangelists, 
disciples, martyrs, and all the host of holy angels. Oh, how much 
there is to see in heaven, and how much to learn of history and 
wisdom, and learning these things, what ground for an eternity 
of praise ! And that will be rest, for the longing of the soul will 
cease because it has returned to the bosom of him from whom 
it came. Just as the migrating bird which longs for the South- 
land has rest when it reaches its goal, not because it henceforth 
does nothing, but because it is in the sunny Southland, so the 
spirit of man has rest when it reaches heaven. 

3. Now, since this is Sabbath rest, the Lord provides for each 
one Sabbath attire. We are to fit the place into which we are 
introduced. That place is the abode of God and the holy angels. 
Hence, we are to suit our environment. That we may enter, 
Christ's glorious robe of righteousness covers all our imperfec- 
tions. A change also will take place in us. The change that those 
undergo who enter heaven is more glorious than the change of 
the worm into the butterfly. The soul that enters there will be 
relieved of flaws and be made perfect. You see, this takes place 
in the person. Down here we adorn outwardly to suit environ- 
ment. But with God it is not what a man has, but what he is. 



THOSE WHO DIE INTHE LORD 51 

Therefore he not only surrounds his saints in heaven with glory, 
but he makes them glorious in themselves. That is why St. Paul 
says: "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory" — mark you — ''with the 
glory that shall be revealed in us." 

This, then, dearly beloved, is why the dead in the Lord who 
rest from their labors are blessed. Does not the truth of it all 
come upon your bruised hearts as a benediction from heaven? 
Surely, it must be so. 

"Beloved, 'It is well!' though deep and sore the smart; 

The hand that wounds knows how to bind and heal the broken heart." 

But the apostle gives us another reason for the blessedness of 
the dead who die in the Lord. 

n. 

"Their works do follow them." It is worth our while, yea, it 
is our duty, to ponder this statement also. Let us endeavor to see 
what it means, and what it teaches. 

1. Works are activities. They may be done in words, or in 
deeds. In fact, thought enters into consideration here, because it 
is father to word and deed. And more than that, in its subtility, 
thought, without being expressed, performs one of the mightiest 
works — namely, helps to mold one's character. So the word 
"work" as used here means anything a man does. To follow 
means to come after. The baby holds to the mother's dress and 
follows her. A son may follow in his father's footsteps. So the 
words, "their works do follow them," are plain enough. But 
still the question is: Whither do they follow them? My answer 
is. Whithersoever they have gone. Have they gone from the 
cradle to the grave? Then their works follow the same course. 
Have they gone to heaven? Then their works also follow them 
there. The truth of this is readily seen. What we do upon earth 



52 FUNERAL SERMONS 

has its influence on others. But influence, once set in motion, 
cannot be estimated. It may go on till the judgment day, and it 
will go on long after we are dead, affecting people along the 
pathway we have trodden in life. That shows how much may 
be done by one deed of kindness; and it also shows how the 
works of a Christian follow in his wake after he is dead. Surely 
it is a blessed thing still to be doing good on earth after you 
have gone to heaven. Is it any wonder that St. John speaks of 
blessedness in this connection? But the other side of this is just 
as plain. As people live, so they die. Some Christians are devel- 
oped more than others, and consequently enter heaven with a 
greater capacity. This does not argue imperfection in heaven: it 
does, if I may use the expression, argue size. You may have 
two perfect circles, one large and one sm-all. They differ in size, 
but both are circles, and both are perfect. Or you may have two 
measures, one large and one small. They differ in size, but you 
may fill each one perfectly full. So it is here. It is in this way 
that the works of those who die in the Lord follow them into 
heaven. And St. John calls this a feature of their blessedness ! 
Can you not also see the blessedness of it? They have grown in 
holiness, and now they attain it to their utmost capacity. They 
have grown in knowledge, and now they obtain it to their utmost 
capacity. They have cherished hope, and now — now it is blessed 
realization. Ah, yes, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, 
for their works do follow them. 

2. But this truth is a stern teacher. Every truth is. Truth 
cannot bend, it cannot yield, it cannot compromise. It has to do 
with realities, with things as they are. We can refuse to learn 
this schoolmaster's lessons, but we cannot escape the conse- 
quences. 

Since, therefore, one's Christian development here determines 
one's capacity hereafter, how important that we be true Chris- 
tians and that we grow in grace! It is utterly senseless to talk 



THOSE WHO DIE IN THE LORD 53 

about entering heaven without being a Christian. The only way 
to heaven is through Christ. Nor is that all: the person who is 
not a Christian would feel out of place there. It would be like a 
foreign land and not like home to him. He could not be happy 
for that very reason. But being a Christian, it is important to 
grow in grace here : to learn heaven's way of thinking and speak- 
ing, commune often with the Savior, and put some of the heav- 
enly life into practice here on earth. To this end frequent and 
regular worship, Bible reading, and frequent communion will 
develop you for service here, and that service will develop you 
for the life hereafter. 

And, furthermore, since our works do follow us on earth also, 
while we are here and after we are gone, how important that we 
have a care what we do and what we leave undone. Now that 
this loved one has gone home, what are the things we remem- 
ber, the things that seem worth while in life? Are they not the 
deeds and words of love — the hundred and one little kindnesses 
that grow out of the Christian life? And, brother mine, how 
much better is it not to live the simple life of faith, and hope, 
and charity, than it is to chase after fame, or fortune, or selfish 
pleasure ! We see these things in their true light from the side 
of a coffin. Seeing them, we should act as wisdom dictates. If 
preparation is to be made, make it now. If a kind word is to be 
spoken, say it now. If some poor fellow is to be assisted, help 
him now. Tomorrow may be too late. Act in the living present. 
Such as these are the lessons which this truth teaches. 

And now, dearly beloved, take these things to heart. To you 
who mourn they are a comfort, and to us all an admonition. 
Let the sudden death of the mother who was with us here last 
Lord's day to worship, and whose body now lies here because 
she loved this sanctuary, together with great truths of our text 
touch our hearts. If I interpret her life aright, she says to us 
now: 



54 FUNERAL SERMONS 

*'Say not, 'Good night,' but in that brighter clime 
Bid me 'Good morning.' " 

And when that day is here, and we are come to the place 
where the purple and fine linen of the rich man are no more than 
the rags of Lazarus, may angels have carried our souls to that 
better clime and these words be spoken for us: ''Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the 
Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works 
do follow them." Amen. 



THE DEATH OP A CHRISTIAN MOTHER 
By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the 
name of our Lord Jesus Christ." — Eph. 5: 20. 

Occasion: Death of a Christian Mother 

Dearly Beloved in the Lord Jesus: 

The last weeks were a time of great anxiety in your home. 
The life of your beloved mother hung in the balance. For days 
and weeks you waited between hope and fear. For a time it 
seemed that her end was near at hand. Then again she revived 
and you hoped that she might still remain with you a little while 
longer, although she was now in her eighty-second year and had 
over-reached the limit of human life as set by the psalmist when 
he says: ''The days of our years are threescore years and ten: 
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their 
strength labor and sorrow ; for it is soon cut off and we fly away ' ' 
(Ps. 90: 10). But suddenly the end came. She calmly fell asleep 
in the Lord and we may apply to her the words of the poet : 

"Asleep in Jesus! blessed sleep, 

From which none ever wakes to weep; 
A calm and undisturbed repose, 
Unbroken by the last of foes." 

And now we have met in the house of God according to Chris- 
tian custom for a funeral service over her mortal remains. 

I have chosen as text a passage which admonishes us to give 
thanks. This may appear to be a strange selection. The giving 
of thanks is usually done on occasions of joy, and not of sorrow. 

55 



56 FUNERAL SERMONS 

But note what the apostle says in our text when he admonishes 
us to give thanks. He says, "Always" and "for all things." 
That means not only in good days but also in evil, not only for 
what are commonly called the blessings but also for the afflic- 
tions of life. In the light of this passage even a funeral service 
should be an occasion for thanksgiving. Let me speak to you 
today on: — 

The Death of a Christian Mother as an Occasion for Thanksgiving 

I will endeavor to show you 

I. What there is to be thankful for and 
II. How you should show your gratitude. 



In asking the question. What is there for which you should 
give thanks today? I answer: You should be thankful for what 
God did for your mother. He began early in life to bless her. 
Her very life was his gift. She was born in a Christian home, in 
the midst of a Christian community. She was in early infancy 
baptized into the death of the Savior and thus made partaker 
of all its benefits. She was brought up under Christian parents. 
She enjoyed the advantages of a thorough course of instruction 
in the Word of God. Up to the time when the infirmities of old 
age made it impossible she was able all her life time to listen to 
the preaching of God's pure Gospel as confessed by our Lutheran 
church. She had the privilege of meeting with God's people 
around the sacramental altar and partaking of the Savior's body 
and blood as most precious pledges of the forgiveness of sins, of 
the Savior's continued presence with his people on earth and of 
everlasting life. The good Lord "called her by the Gospel, en- 
lightened her with his gifts, sanctified and kept her in the true 
faith." 



DEATH or A CHRISTIAN MOTHER 57 

Although in her long life she endured many hardships, which 
fell to the lot of the pioneers in our community, yet God amply 
provided her with all that was necessary for the support of this 
body and life. She lacked for no good thing although the Lord 
nevpr gave her great wealth. She lived within the limit asked for 
in the prayer of Solomon: "Give me neither poverty nor riches; 
feed me with food convenient for me" (Prov. 30: 8). God made 
her a happy wife and mother. She lived to see her children's 
children. Long life is promised as a special blessing to those who 
fear the Lord. God says of the righteous: ''With long life will 
I satisfy him" (Ps. 91 : 16). She lived to a good old age, and was 
gathered in like a ripe sheaf. 

And even when the infirmities of old age came, those days of 
which most of us say that we have no pleasure in them, she en- 
joyed the kindness and care of her children who did all they 
could to make her burdens light. She had no reason to believe 
that she was a burden to them, but on the contrary they made 
her feel that it was not so much a duty but rather a pleasure to 
care for her every want. She could enjoy the visits of her pastor 
who ministered to her spiritually and comforted her in affliction 
with the precious promises of God's Word, which is a never fail- 
ing fountain of comfort in affliction. She enjoyed the company 
of her Christian friends and neighbors and could thus feel that 
she was still a member of the communion of saints although 
unable to meet with God's people in public service as she had 
been accustomed to do in better days. Thank God for all this. 
To his grace in Christ Jesus she owed these favors. 

But when you are asked to give thanks today, do not overlook 
what God did for you through your mother. She was God's in- 
strument for the bestowal of innumerable blessings upon her 
children. There is no one in all the wide world whom we owe 
more than to our pious parents. And especially our mothers have 
been singled out by the Almighty as instruments and channels 



58 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



for the bestowal of his richest blessings. At the risk of her own 
life your mother gave life to you. During the helpless days of 
infancy her arms carried you day and night. Her very blood 
was your nourishment. She provided food, clothing and shelter 
during all the days of dependent childhood. No labor was too 
hard, no privations too great when it came to making you com- 
fortable. How many sleepless nights she spent at your sick bed! 
She heard every sigh of pain and every groan of suffering. She 
forgot herself and her own welfare when your life, health and 
well-being were at stake. She lived not for herself but for her 
household. She knew no higher duties than those which she 
owed to husband and children. She knew no sweeter pleasures 
than those of the home. Thank God for such a mother. What 
you are today you owe primarily to your mother. You would 
be a helpless cripple but for her fostering care; yes, you would 
perhaps not have lived a month had it not been for her self- 
sacrificing love. 

She was, however, concerned not only in your bodily but also 
in your spiritual welfare. Yes, as a Christian mother she consid- 
ered your soul of even greater value than your body. She brought 
you as an infant, conceived and born in sin, to the sacrament of 
Baptism that you might be regenerated of water and the Spirit. 
It was she who first taught you to fold your hands in prayer. She 
first taught you to lisp the name of the Savior in your morning 
and evening devotions and in saying grace at meals. She told 
you the Bible stories in childlike language and led you reverently 
to repeat the Lord's Prayer. It was through her efforts that you 
were sent to Sunday-school and to the catechetical class for in- 
struction in the saving doctrines of the Gospel. It was beside her 
that you sat in God's house when you first enjoyed the privilege 
of meeting with God's people in worship. Her watchful eye 
guided you through the spiritual dangers of childhood and even 
when grown to manhood and womanhood her interest in your 



DEATH OF A CHRISTIAN MOTHER 59 

spiritual welfare was largely responsible for the fact that you 
did not stray from the fold of Christ and follow the multitudes 
on the broad road that leadeth to destruction. And when she 
had become old and feeble after she had borne the heat and 
burden of life's day, you were included in her daily prayers and 
her advice was always ready to guide you in the way of right- 
eousness and truth. She watched and guided your every step with 
anxious care as only a mother can who is truly interested in the 
spiritual and eternal welfare of her children. Thank God for such 
a mother! 

II. 

And now let us see how we should show the gratitude which 
we owe our mothers, or rather God for them. We owe this debt 
of gratitude to God, for it was by his merciful providence that 
we were so richly blessed through our pious parents. As they 
were God's instruments in the bestowal of his blessings so they 
are the best medium for us to express our gratitude to the Giver 
of every good and every perfect gift. In 1 Tim. 5 : 4 the Apostle 
admonishes children ''to requite their parents: for that is good 
and acceptable before God." In the providence of God the time 
comes when parents grow old and feeble, when they need care 
and attention as their children did in infancy and childhood. 
This is the time to pay back what we have received at their 
hands. Do not put off the expression of your gratitude for the 
fostering care of your parents until after they are dead and gone. 
Show them your appreciation while they are yet alive. God in 
his allwise providence had allowed your mother to become help- 
less many years before he called her to himself in heaven, and it 
affords me pleasure to say that you watched over and cared for 
her declining years with tender solicitude. You made her feel 
that she was not a burden. It was a pleasure for you to make her 
load as light as possible. You felt that you owed her, and above 



go FUNEKAL SERMONS 

all God, whose instrument she was, a debt of gratitude which to 
pay off you considered not only a duty but a pleasure. 

But the time came at last when your pious mother was called 
home. She fell asleep in the Lord. Her soul has entered into the 
glory which God has in store for his people above. Her lifeless 
body is all that remains with us. And even that we must hasten 
to commit to the earth because of the decay to which it will 
shortly fall prey. And now we have brought her body once more 
into the house of God to hold over it a solemn funeral service. We 
are giving your mother honorable Christian burial as a last 
tribute of respect to one who has lived and died as a Christian. 
So we show our gratitude to Christian parents. Your mother de- 
lighted in the services of God's house as long as she was physi- 
cally able to attend. And even when this was not possible by 
reason of bodily infirmity she was in spirit with us in the assem- 
bly of God's people when the church bell rang. There is neither 
sense nor propriety in bringing the lifeless remains of one who 
has despised and neglected the services of God's house while he 
lived into the temple of the Lord when he is dead. But when a 
devoted Christian dies, who during his life could truly say: ''How 
amiable are thy tabernacles, Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, 
yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord" (Ps. 84: 1), it is 
fitting and proper that his remains be carried into God's house 
while his family and friends receive comfort, consolation, admo- 
nition, and instruction from God's Word. This public Christian 
funeral service is not a matter of vain display, but a tribute of 
honor to the faith and Christian character of those who die in 
the Lord. 

And from God's house we carry the remains of your departed 
mother to God's acre, there to bury it, in the sure and certain 
hope of the resurrrection to eternal life at the last day, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ who shall change our vile bodies that they 
may be like unto his own glorious body according to the mighty 



DEATH OF A CHRISTIAN MOTHER Ql 

working by which he is able to subdue all things to himself. We 
pay respect to the faith of our Christian fathers and mothers when 
over their graves we give expression to this blessed hope in which 
they lived and died. Yes, the faith in which they lived should 
be confessed over their graves. We owe it to their sainted mem- 
ories to bury them in the faith in which they died. 

But our gratitude to a pious Christian mother should not end 
with her burial. It is customary to erect monuments over the 
graves of our loved ones, to mark the resting places where their 
decaying bodies await the resurrection of the just at the last 
day. We would not say one word in disparagement of this cus- 
tom so far as it keeps in proper bounds and is not a mere display 
of senseless pomp and vanity. But the best monument which 
children can erect to the memory of their sainted parents is a 
devoted and consistent Christian life. Let us follow the instruc- 
tions and example of our pious fathers and mothers and thus 
prove to the world that they have not lived in vain. Let it be 
your purpose to prove in your own life that the life of your 
mother was not a failure; that the good seed which she sowed 
fell upon good ground and is bearing rich fruit. The Christian 
character of a child is the best and most lasting monument that 
can be erected to the memory of a pious mother. Show the world 
by a consistent Christian life that you are not only a bodily 
descendant but a true spiritual child of your sainted mother. 
Do not disgrace her good name by a life of vanity and vice but 
honor her name by one of godliness, sobriety, honesty and purity. 
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good 
works and glorify your Father which is in heaven, and laud 
your pious mother who was his instrument in bringing you up 
as Christians. God grant it! Amen. 



STONES ROLLED AWAY 
By Rev. A. K. Bell 

"And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came 
unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among them- 
selves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was 
very great." — Mark 16: 2-4. 

Our God who has promised not to leave his trusting children 
comfortless, gives us a blessed word of hope through his prophet 
Isaiah, when he says, ''That before they call, I will answer: and 
while they are yet speaking, I will hear." 

So it was indeed, on that first Easter morning, as the women 
came with bowed heads and grief-stricken hearts to the tomb 
of our Lord to complete with womanly exactness and tenderness 
the work of embalming, which the men in the haste of the ap- 
proaching Sabbath had not the time to do thoroughly on Good 
Friday afternoon. Before they had opportunity to solicit the aid 
of any one in giving them access to the dead body of their Master 
by rolling from the door of the tomb the great stone that seemed 
to make their way impassable, behold, as they lifted their bowed 
heads, they saw plainly, even through their tears, that the stone 
was rolled away and an angel of light was sitting upon it. 

May we not take this incident as a parable of what our gra- 
cious heavenly Father is doing for you, his believing children, 
today as you walk in the way of sorrows to the tomb of your 
loved one? 

May the Holy Spirit, our ever present Guide and Comforter, 
lead us from this way of sorrow into the way of truth and 
show us: — 

62 



STONES ROLLED AWAY g3 

Stones Rolled Away 

Behold how he shows you: 
I. The Stone of Sin and Death Rolled Away. 
II. The Stone of Unbelief Rolled Away. 
III. The Stone of Human Grief and Anxious Care Rolled 
Away. 

I. Our text show^ the Christian believer the Stone of Sin 
and Death Eolled Away in the resurrection of his blessed Lord. 

St. Paul says of Christ that ''he was delivered for our offences, 
and was raised again for our justification," and again, ''if Christ 
be not raised, your faith is vain ; ye are yet in your sins. " 

Christ's resurrection is the stamp of God's approval on the 
offering of our Lord made in his own bitter sufferings and death 
to put away our sin and its curse from us. The emptying of the 
tomb in Joseph's garden, which could be seen by the eye of 
flesh, is the evidence to the eye of faith, of the emptying of sin 
and death of all their curse and power over the believer who is 
still alive or over those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 

Our Lord Jesus has said to us, "He that believeth in me, 
though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and 
believeth in me shall never die." His own glorious resurrection 
power over death is evidence that he can fulfil this wonderful 
promise by exerting this same power in our behalf. Tea, it is 
sufficient evidence that he has fulfilled this promise he has made 
us. By his mighty resurrection power he has rolled away from 
us the stone of sin and death. 

And what a heavy stone this is that he has thus rolled away 
from us! Like a mill-stone it has hung about the neck of every 
human being from our first parents on down to us, dragging 
those under its weight down in misery to destruction and death. 

Oh, the burden of sin which has weighed upon the conscience 
of humanity from the time the first sin-burdened souls tried to 



64 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



hide from God in Eden, or the first murderer cried out in despair. 
"My punishment is greater than I can bear!" 

Everywhere one looks he may see mankind burdened, de- 
pressed and dragged down, struggling, staggering and falling 
under the crushing burden of a great weight too heavy for any 
mortal to bear. 

When the soul is wearied and crushed under this load, how 
welcome is the voice of One who can say, ''Come unto me, all ye 
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . . 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ' ' 

He has borne the burden of our sin, and not ours only, but 
the sin of the whole world, for "the Lord hath laid on him the 
iniquity of us all." 

How heavy was that burden of sin? Go to dark Gethsemane 
and there amidst the shadows hear our Burden-bearer say, ''My 
soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death"; hear him agon- 
izing in prayer under that burden until its awful weight so 
crushed him, that his sweat became as it were great drops of 
blood falling down to the ground; go to Golgotha and there, be- 
neath that central cross, hear the awful words that fell from 
his lips as he suffered the agonies of eternal death for a lost 
world, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 

How heavy was that burden of sin? Behold in the blood and 
water gushing from his pierced side the evidence that our Lord's 
heart was actually broken under the burden of sin he bore, not 
for himself, but for us. 

This burden of sin, which crushed the Man of Sorrows physi- 
cally and spiritually, does not rest upon those who by faith make 
Christ their Substitute, for he has rolled away the stone of sin 
from them by his own death for them, and assures them of it 
by his resurrection from the dead. 

What he has done for sin, he has done for death, for from 
the beginning sin and death have been inseparable. "In the day 



STONES ROLLED AWAY 65 

that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'' ''The wages of 
sin is death.'' Therefore, when Christ, in his resurrection power, 
rolls away from us the stone of sin, he rolls away from us, also, 
the stone of death. 

Christ's resurrection is only the first-fruits, which shall yet 
be followed by the resurrection of all those who sleep in Jesus. 
As he came forth gloriously, so must they; as the grave held no 
victory over him, neither shall it hold any victory over Christ's 
own at his coming. 

Lift up your heads then, ye who mourn, and look, for this 
stone, which was very great, is already rolled away for you and 
for your loved one, for through Christ you can bid defiance to 
both sin and death and say, ''0 Death, where is thy sting? 
Grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the 
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth 
us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

II. Christ's resurrection just as gloriously rolls away for us 
the Stone of Unbelief. 

Even those who loved Christ most did not believe at first, 
before they saw that great stone rolled away from the door of 
his tomb. They were coming in the early dawning of the first day 
of the week with sweet spices that they might anoint him. They 
had no hope of finding any other than a dead Lord when they 
came to his tomb. They acted as though Christ had never said 
a word about his arising from the dead on the third day. If they 
had believed his words they would have gone out to find a living 
instead of a dead Lord. 

But the unbelief of his disciples was even more determined 
than that of the woman. We read that the women "returned 
from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, 
and to all the rest. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, 
and they believed them not." Repeatedly as the good news of 
the empty tomb was brought some of them persisted in unbelief. 



QQ FUNERAL SERMONS 

In strange contrast with this unbelief is the attitude of 
Christ's enemies, the chief priests, for as soon as the Roman 
guard bring their report of the resurrection and the rolling 
away of the stone, they accept it as true, remembering that this 
is just what he said he would do on the third day, and they bribe 
the soldiers to lie and say that his disciples came and stole him 
away while they slept. 

But when once Christ's disciples saw the great sealed stone 
rolled away their uubelief and doubt was forever rolled away, 
and their faith in his resurrection, his deity and his saving power 
forever established. 

No fact in the history of the world stands on stronger evidence 
than does the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of Christianity's 
ablest opponents calls it ''the very center of the center" and 
says there is no use of wasting time in discussing the other mira- 
cles of Jesus because everything else stands or falls with the 
resurrection of Christ. 

If Christ is risen from the dead everything else in the Bible 
is proven to be possible, for this is the miracle of miracles. 

The rolling away of all unbelief and doubt is accomplished 
in this rolling away of the great stone from the door of Joseph's 
tomb. 

"How tranquil now the rising day! 
'Tis Jesus still appears, 
A risen Lord, to chase away 

Your unbelieving fears: 
Oh, weep no more your comforts slain, 
The Lord is risen, he lives again." 

III. "With the great stones of Sin and Death and Unbelief 
rolled away for us through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, it follows but naturally that the stone of human grief and 
anxious care should be rolled away from us. 

The women came to the tomb with heavier hearts than those 
that throb in your breasts today, for you have heard of Easter and 



STONES ROLLED AWAY 67 

they had not as yet. But when the angel answered and said unto 
the women, ''Fear not ye: for I know that, ye seek Jesus, which 
was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen as he said. Come, 
see the place where the Lord lay," their grief vanished, and 
instead, they were filled with joy inexpressible. ''Then were the 
disciples glad when they saw the Lord." That gladness was 
born of the knowledge that the One they mourned was not among 
the dead, where they sought him, but among the living where 
he said he would be. 

Oh, if we, here below, could only look upon God's plans from 
his side, the upper side, the right side ! A mother is working a 
beautiful design in the cloth upon the frame in her hands; a 
little child sits questioning at her side, looking up at the rough 
threads and loose ends, and wonders what mamma is making, 
for there is no beauty, no design, no plan to be seen in her work 
from the child's view-point. 

Beloved, may it not be quite like this with the plan our 
Father in heaven is working out in your lives today? Today we 
sit in the place of the child; we look through our tears at the 
under-side of God's workmanship; we see no beauty of design 
in it ; we wonder why this thread should have been broken here, 
or another there ; or how these ragged ends in their unloveliness 
could add anything to the beauty of the design our God is working 
out in the fabric of our lives. 

In the midst of our perplexity he says to us. My little chil- 
dren, what I do ye know not now, but ye shall know hereafter. 
For now ye look at my work from the wrong side, the side of 
the ragged ends, the ugly, broken threads; hereafter ye shall 
look upon that same work from the right side, God's side, and 
the beauty of the design will amaze you, and you will realize that 
in all of those broken threads and ragged ends your God knew 
best and he made no mistakes. 



68 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



Here there are tribulations and sorrows, trials and tears ; but 
there '^God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there 
shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall 
there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." 

But this great stone of grief will not only be rolled com- 
pletely away for us hereafter, it is rolled away for us here and 
now, as completely as it was rolled away for the women in their 
grief on the first Easter morn. 

Is it not so with all the anxious cares that grow out of our 
griefs to perplex and trouble us? Like the women of our text 
you may be saying among yourselves today: **Who shall roll us 
away the stone?" Readjustments will be necessary in the house- 
hold; new and grave responsibilities will fall upon shoulders 
unused to them and inexperienced. And from where you sit now 
in your sorrow these seem too heavy for your strength and there 
seems to be no one to roll the weight away for you. So thought 
the faithful women that first Easter morning in Joseph's gar- 
den, and then, behold, as they looked up they found that the 
stone was rolled away already. 

Even so it is with all of us and shall be with you as you 
approach the cares that perplex and the responsibilities that 
terrify you. 

By far the greater number of the things that we worry and 
are anxious about are things that never happen; things that in 
God's merciful providence are rolled out of our way or taken 
care of satisfactorily in some unexpected manner. "As thy days, 
so shall thy strength be," saith your God to you, the same God 
who sent his angel to roll away the great stone that troubled the 
women as they approached the empty tomb of our Lord. He 
says to you as you trouble yourselves about the great stones you 
think are in your way, ''Cast all your care upon him, for he 
careth for you," and again, ''Let not your heart be troubled: 
believe in God, believe also in me." 



STONES ROLLED AWAY 69 

If we will only do this, only believe in God and his Son who 
went through sorrow and death and the grave for us, to rob 
them of all their power over us, we shall look up as did the 
women and see that every stone will be rolled away for us, even 
the great stones of Sin and Death, of Unbelief, and of Human 
Grief and Anxious Care. 

''Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory, through our 
Lord, Jesus Christ/' Amen. 



FAITH BEHOLDS THE GLORY OP GOD 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"Jesus said: Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that 
was dead, saith unto him, Lord, "by this time he stinketh: for he hath been 
dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou 
wouldst believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" — John 11: 39, 40. 

Occasion: On the Death of a Christian Man 

Dearly Beloved in the Lord : 

The little village of Bethany was situated not far from Jeru- 
salem. Here lived two sisters, Mary and Martha, and their 
brother, Lazarus. This home was frequently graced with the 
presence of the Savior. Its inmates were his dear friends, and 
he frequently enjoyed their hospitality. It was a happy home, 
as only a Christian home, where the Savior is a welcome guest, 
can be. But sorrow came to this home. Lazarus, the friend of 
Jesus, was taken seriously ill. When things began to assume a 
dangerous aspect the sisters sent word to the Savior, saying: 
''Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick" (John 11: 3). They 
took it for granted that the mere announcement would be all 
that was necessary to bring the Savior with his ever ready, 
omnipotent help to the rescue. But, strange to say, we read: 
''When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two 
days still in the same place where he was" (John 11: 6). Not 
until after his friend had died and lain in the grave four days 
did Jesus arrive at the house of mourning. Martha met him with 
the sad words: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had 
not died." But full of confidence she added: "But I know, that 
even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it 

70 



FAITH BEHOLDS THE GLORY OP GOD 7X 

thee." And her faith was not to be disappointed. For a moment 
when she stood before the open sepulchre with its awful odors 
of corruption her faith faltered. Then it was that the Savior 
spake the words of our text : ' ' Said I not unto thee, that if thou 
wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" There 
is a glorious truth contained in these words. A truth that it is 
well for you, mourning friends, to take to heart. Yes, a truth 
which may serve to the edification of us all as we look back over 
the life, sufferings and death of our departed brother. Let me 
endeavor to show you 

How Faith Beholds the Glory of God 

I. In the Life, 
II. In the Sufferings, and 
III. In the Death of Our Departed Brother. 



The world sees nothing specially glorious in such a life as 
that which has just been brought to a close. There are some lives 
which appear glorious in the eyes of the world. When a man in 
the short space of a life time accumulates vast wealth, when, no 
matter how, whether by fair or foul means, he succeeds in 
amassing millions, he is looked upon as gloriously successful. 
Or when a man arises from obscurity to honor and distinction, 
when he succeeds in wielding great power so that thousands and 
millions do his bidding, the world looks upon his life as eminently 
successful. 

Our brother was not great in this sense. He was just one of 
the common people, just an ordinary mortal like thousands and 
millions of others who never rise to distinction in the eyes of the 
world. He was satisfied to eat his daily bread with thanksgiving. 
Having food and raiment he was therewith content. He never 



72 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



had an ambition to do extraordinary things, things that would 
astonish the world and set it agog. He deemed it sufficient to fill 
well the position which God had marked out for him, no matter 
how humble it might be. He was a common workman, just a 
plain husband and father, an ordinary church member. 

And yet we claim his life was a glorious one when looked 
upon with the eye of faith. From all eternity God had plans for 
the salvation of our departed brother. And in the fulness of 
time he carried out these plans, by the sending of his only be- 
gotten Son into the world as his Savior. Was it not a glorious 
thing that when the fulness of time had come God sent forth his 
Son made of a woman, made under the law to redeem our brother 
that he might receive the adoption of a son? "Was it not a 
glorious thing that God met him on the very threshold of life 
and through the washing of water by the Word adopted him 
into the covenant of his grace? Was it not a glorious thing that 
having been conceived and born in sin God bestowed upon him 
the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost? 
Was it not a glorious thing that God kindled in his heart the 
spark of faith and through the influence of pious parents, and 
faithful teachers and pastors fanned this spark into a flame that 
burned more brightly from year to year? Was it not a glorious 
thing that he enjoyed the blessed privilege of living in the fel- 
lowship of the saints all his days? That from his earliest child- 
hood even to the hour of his departure from this vale of tears 
he could drink in the living water of the pure Gospel, that he 
could meet with God's people at the altar of the Lord there to 
receive the very body and blood of the crucified Lamb of God as 
most precious pledges of the forgiveness of sins, of sonship in 
the spiritual family of God and of the hope of everlasting life? 

Then see what a glorious thing it was that God made him a 
happy husband and the father of pious children, that he gave him 
in his faithful wife a true helpmeet, one who shared the joys and 



FAITH BEHOLDS THE GLORY OP GOD 73 

sorrows of life with him as only a Christian wife can? Was it 
not a glorious thing that God did not withhold from him the 
blessing of children, and such children as were a real pleasure to 
their father? For all these years he enjoyed the sunshine of a 
Christian home, that he and his never lacked bread and even en- 
joyed a fair share of the comforts and conveniences of life ? 

Was it not a glorious thing that God called him into his 
service, that he could live in accordance with the apostolic in- 
junction : ' ' Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name 
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" 
(Col. 3: 17)? He was a servant of the most high God and that 
is the greatest honor that can be conferred on mortal man. It 
places him on a level with the angels who are God's ministering 
spirits. 

Yes, my brethren, there is much in the humble life of our 
departed brother that is glorious but it requires the eye of faith 
to see it. 

II. 

But strange as it may seem there was something glorious not 
only in the life but even in the sufferings of our brother. It may 
sound strange that there should be anything glorious about suf- 
fering. The world is no friend of suffering and goes to almost 
any length to escape it. A life of pleasure and not of suffering 
is its glory. "Let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow 
we die." The world aims to get all the good out of life it can. 
It pities those who cannot enjoy a large share of the creature 
comforts of life. Poverty, sickness, pain, disappointment, re- 
verses and the like are considered great misfortunes. It weeps 
and mourns over its sufferings. Yes, it even curses and raves 
when things go wrong. So far from seeing anything glorious in 
suffering it considers a life of suffering as worse than a failure. 
It would rather not live at all than live a life of suffering. Job 



74 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



cursed the day of his birth under the influence of his losses and 
pains. 

And yet there is something glorious about the sufferings of a 
child of God. A Christian knows that he is not the football of 
chance, but that he is at all times and under all circumstances 
under God's merciful providence. That nothing can befall him 
except by the permissive will of his dear Father in heaven. The 
Savior says: ''Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And 
one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, 
therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt. 10: 
29, 30). God's all-seeing eye is always open over us. He is at the 
helm of our Lord's ship. We can safely entrust ourselves to him. 

We can look to him for grace and strength in every trouble. 
He never allows loads to be placed upon us without giving the 
strength necessary to carry them. He never suffers us to be 
tempted above what we are able to bear, and with every tempta- 
tion also makes a way of escape. What an example of God's 
sustaining grace was the life of our departed brother! How 
cheerfully he bore his load of sickness, pain and suffering! 
Without murmur or complaint he submitted to the will of his 
heavenly Father, knowing that God doeth all things well. His 
life was not all sunshine. He was often under a cloud. Yes, it 
seems that with him misfortuntes never came singly. He was 
never blessed with over-much of this world's goods. It was often 
a vexing question how to make ends meet. He had his full share 
of the ills that flesh is heir to. Sickness and even death repeatedly 
knocked at his door. To a superficial observer it might seem 
that his days of adversity by far outnumbered those of prosperity. 
How glorious that in all these sad experiences he knew that the 
Lord was with him and he could say with the Psalmist: ''Yea, 
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 



FAITH BEHOLDS THE GLORY OF GOD 



75 



fear no evil: for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they 
comfort me" (Ps. 23: 4). 

What a glorious thing it is to know that God can bring good 
out of evil! He overrules all our sorrows and makes them re- 
dound to his glory and our good. What seem to be our greatest 
misfortunes will in the end prove to be our greatest blessings. 
''Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall 
bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as 
the light and thy judgment as the noonday" (Ps. 37: 5, 6). 

The Christian often suffers not only the ills that are common 
to all men, but for his Lord's sake. He is hated and persecuted 
just because he is faithful to his Master. Instead of being ashamed 
of such afflictions the Christian glories in them. It is a glorious 
thing that we are deemed worthy to suffer with Christ and for 
his sake. Such suffering we should regard as a special mark of 
distinction, a badge of honor. If the world hates our Lord and 
Master what else can we expect than that it will hate us also 
who walk in his footsteps? The Savior says: "Blessed are ye, 
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all 
manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven; for so per- 
secuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matt. 5: 
11, 12). It is an honor to bear the cross after the Savior. 
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 10). Yes, faith 
beholds much glory in suffering and of this our departed brother 
was an illustrious example. 

III. 

But faith beholds the glory of God not only in his life and 
sufferings but even in his death. In the eyes of the world there 
is nothing glorious about an ordinary death. In fact death is 
regarded as the king of terrors. A man will give all he has to 



76 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



save his life. The preservation of life is one of the first laws of 
nature. What an awful calamity is death! How ruthlessly it 
tears apart the tenderest ties of life ! What a procession of mis- 
ery and wretchedness follow in its wake ! It fills the world with 
widows and orphans. It starts the tears of mothers and the sighs 
of fathers. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus. 

And yet there are circumstances under which even the world 
looks at death as glorious. To die for one's country, fighting 
in a good cause, to lay down one's life on the altar of patriotism 
has always been regarded as honorable. There have ever been 
martyrs of science and invention whose death is prized as some- 
thing great. 

But the death of our departed brother was not of this kind. 
It was just a plain, ordinary death. Such a death as thousands 
die every day. What is there glorious about submitting to the 
inevitable, and going the way of all flesh? Yes, when we think 
of that which comes after death, of the decay and corruption of 
the grave, of the judgment which death ushers in, of the eternity 
whose awful uncertainties begin with death, it is too terrible to 
think of. 

And yet, to the eye of faith, death is something glorious. 
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: 
yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and 
their works do follow them" (Rev. 14: 13). To those who die 
in the Lord death brings rest, eternal rest, rest from all labor, 
pain, and sorrow. For "God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former 
things are passed away" (Rev. 14: 4). What a blessed prospect 
for a poor, afflicted, wayworn pilgrim, that he shall soon reach 
the end of his sad journey! 

To a child of God death comes as a welcome messenger calling 
the wanderer home. Even our poor wasted bodies, after they have 



FAITH BEHOLDS THE GLORY OF GOD 77 

rested temporarily in the grave, shall arise to new life and glory in 
the general resurrection at the last day. ' ' The dead in Christ shall 
rise first . . . and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I 
Thess. 4: 16, 17). The life everlasting which we confess in the 
creed is a life of endless joy and perfect happiness. ''Eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of 
man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love 
him" (I Cor. 2:9). Death is to the true believer the beginning 
of this glory. Is it a wonder that he has a longing for it? St. 
Paul speaks of himself as ''having a desire to depart and be 
with Christ" (Phil. 1: 23). For says he: "For me to live is 
Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1: 21). From this point of view 
death loses its terrors. It is changed into a sweet sleep from 
which there will be a glorious awakening. 

Let us thank God for this prospect. Yes, faith sees the glory 
of God in life, in suffering and in death. This is our comfort 
today for we are gathered around the bier of a child of God. May 
God help us to realize what a glorious thing it is to live, to suffer 
and to die as a true Christian. Amen. 



THE BLESSINGS OF GOD IN THE LIFE OF THE 

DEPARTED 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, 
and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will 
shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, 
and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless 
them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all 
families of the earth be blessed." — Gen. 12: 1-3. 

Occasion: Funeral Sermon for a Man Prominent in the Work 

of the Church 

Dearly Beloved in the Lord Jesus : 

In funeral sermons men usually expect praise. They often 
expect men to be praised where in reality there is very little to 
be praised. In fact the eulogy of the dead seems to some the chief 
object of funeral sermons. But why should we flatter the dead? 
If there is anything praiseworthy, it is the gift of God. What- 
ever praise we give should be given to the Giver of every good 
and perfect gift. The death of our beloved brother affords much 
opportunity for praise. Yes, we feel today like singing: ''Praise 
God, from whom all blessings flow. ' ' His life was an illustrious 
example of the blessings of Almighty God. Let us look upon it 
from this point of view, while I speak to you concerning 

The Blessings of God as Illustrated in the Life of Our 
Departed Brother 

Let us see: 

I. How God blessed him, and 
II. How God blessed others through him. 

78. 



BLESSINGS OF GOD IN LIFE OF DEPARTED 79 

God says in our text to Abraham first: "I will bless thee,'' 
and then: "Thou shalt be a blessing," These two sentences 
embody the two thoughts which should occupy our attention 
today. 

I. 

Our text speaks of the call of Abraham. ''Now the Lord had 
said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy 
kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will 
shew thee." It was seemingly a hard thing that the Lord asked of 
the patriarch. He was to break all the ties of blood and friend- 
ship. He was to turn his back upon all the comforts and con- 
veniences of his native land. He was to go into a strange land 
not knowing what would befall him there. But we know that 
this call of Abraham was for his good, it was a great blessing 
to him and his offspring. God had none but the best of inten- 
tions when he led him westward into a new country. God said: 
''I will make of thee a great nation." And how wonderfully 
the Almighty fulfilled this promise ! Even in temporal things the 
descendants of Abraham in Canaan under David and Solomon 
attained to wonderful greatness. 

Early in life our brother was led by the providence of God 
out of his native land, away from his friends and kindred into 
what was then to him a strange land. Fifty years ago he landed 
on the shores of the new^ world a perfect stranger. He brought 
with him nothing but hands that were willing to work and a dis- 
position that was not ashamed of honest toil. He set out like 
hundreds and thousands of other young Germans to seek his 
fortune in the new w^orld. He was a stranger in a strange land, 
not knowing what the future had in store for him. 

And how did he fare in the new world? America has well 
been called the land of unlimited opportunities, and here God 
blessed our brother far beyond his fondest expectations. In all 



80 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



probability, had he remained in the old world he would have 
eked out a modest living and been content to live and labor, to 
struggle for a mere existence, as his fathers before him had done 
for generations. But in the new world with its wonderful nat- 
ural resources, its liberal social, industrial and political institu- 
tions, he rose to wealth and honor. By honest labor and strict 
economy he attained such financial standing as it would never 
have been possible for him to reach had he remained in the 
fatherland. 

He was far too modest to attribute this financial success to 
his own efforts. In his estimation it was the blessing of God 
which rested upon his efforts that enabled him to attain wealth 
and distinction. He believed in the word of Solomon : ' ' The bless- 
ing of the Lord, it maketh rich" (Prov. 10: 22). 

When Abraham entered Canaan, Sarah, his wife, accompan- 
ied him; but they had no children. Under the blessing of God 
the patriarch was enabled to see children and children's children 
in the land of promise. So our brother was blessed with the 
comforts of a Christian home in the new world. He left behind 
him in the fatherland father and mother, brothers and sisters 
and landed on these shores homeless. But the Lord here blessed 
him with a new home, making him the head of a family. He 
became a happy husband and father. He found a life partner 
after his own heart and the new world became to him a second 
fatherland. God blessed him with children and his new home in 
time richly replaced what he left behind him across the seas. 
God was very kind to the young foreigner and so led him that 
the land of his adoption became as dear to him as that of his 
birth. His fellow-citizens appreciated his sterling virtues and 
he soon rose to distinction and honor among them. 

But all these temporal blessings are small when compared 
with what God did for him in spiritual things. The temporal 
blessings which God had in store for Abraham were not to be 



BLESSINGS OF GOD IN LIFE OF DEPARTED gj 

compared with the spiritual as expressed in the glorious prom- 
ise: ''In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." We 
know that this refers to the Savior who should be born out of 
the seed of Abraham in the promised land. And so God had in 
store for our brother rich spiritual blessings in the new world. 
He had been baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church 
of his native land. The new spiritual life which had been kin- 
dled in his heart at baptism was nursed by the influences of a 
Christian home. He enjoyed the privilege of attending a school 
in which the Gospel of Christ was made one of the chief branches 
of instruction. The schooling which he received was permeated 
by the principle, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis- 
dom" (Ps. Ill: 10). His confirmation was not an empty cere- 
mony. It made a lasting impression upon his young heart. He 
never forgot the covenant made with the triune God. He was a 
Lutheran Christian not only in name but from conviction. 

Even in the new world, where so many young men and women 
forget their early training in the mad rush for money and pleas- 
ure, he remained faithful to his baptismal and confirmation vows. 
God led him into a community where he found a Lutheran church. 
And he soon made himself at home in her services. The pure 
preaching of the Word of God and the right administration of 
the sacraments appealed to his Christian consciousness. This was 
the church of his fathers, this was his own spiritual mother and 
he was not slow to identify himself with the local congregation 
which confessed his faith. What a blessing it was to a young 
man of his pious disposition that he found a congregation of the 
old faith in the new world! For nearly half a century he en- 
joyed the administration of the means of grace in our congre- 
gation. Here the Law showed him his sins and the Gospel pointed 
him the way to obtain forgiveness. Here he was warned against 
all manner of spiritual dangers and encouraged in every Chris- 
tian virtue. Here like a weary traveler in the desert he could 



32 FUNERAL SERMONS 

spend the Lord's day in the house of God like in an oasis with 
its refreshing springs of life-giving waters. Here the pious youth 
found food on which his faith could grow and develop into 
Christian manhood. Yes, the Lord was surely kind and gracious 
to our brother in providing every advantage for the maintenance 
and growth of his spiritual life. 

And when old age with its burdens and afflictions came, he 
was not left without the comfort of the Gospel. It was proclaimed 
to him on his sick-bed in all its rich fulness. Was his soul 
hungry? Here was food in plenty. Did he thirst after the w^ater 
of life? Here were never-failing springs. As the shadows of life 
began to lengthen and the evening of his earthly days drew nigh 
his thoughts were more than ever occupied with that eternity 
which God's children look forward to as a place of eternal rest 
and everlasting joy. God blessed him with a cheerful hope of 
the life to come through our Lord Jesus Christ. In view of all 
this he could surely say with the psalmist : ' ' The lines are fallen 
unto me in pleasant places: yea, I have a goodly heritage" (Ps. 
16: 6). 

II. 

But when we speak of our brother's life as a life of blessing 
let us remember that God not only blessed him but through him 
he also blessed others. God said to Abraham not only: *'I will 
bless thee," but he added: "And thou shalt be a blessing." 
Abraham was not only to receive but to transmit God's bless- 
ings. He was a blessing first of all to his own house. And so 
was our brother. His wife and children caught the contagion 
of his faith. A godly man is a constant source of blessing to 
those with whom he lives under one roof. Every pious wife is 
blessed by living with such a life partner. The Scriptures say: 
"They two shall be one flesh." What a blessing if they are one 
not only in the ordinary interests of life but one in faith and 



BLESSINGS OF GOD IN LIFE OF DEPARTED §3 

hope, one in willingness to serve the Lord, one in readiness 
patiently to bear the crosses and afflictions of life. "Each for 
the other and both for God" was the inscription on an old wed- 
ding ring. How much easier it is to carry the burdens of life 
when there are two to lift the load ! 

And what a blessing he was to his children! God used him 
as his instrument to provide for them food, clothing, and shelter. 
It was through him that God provided them with a liberal edu- 
cation and enabled them to fill positions of responsibility among 
their fellow-men. Through him God not only provided them 
with a good home but sent them forth fully equipped to cope 
with the problems and battles of life. Yes, through him God did 
even more than this. They enjoyed not only a comfortable but a 
Christian home. When the day of the Lord came the father did 
not say, ''Go," but, ''Come," let us go into the house of the 
Lord. He recognized the fact that his children had not only 
bodies to feed and clothe but minds to develop and souls to save. 
He was the spiritual head of his house, a real priest in the home, 
who was not too busy and not ashamed to lead his wife and 
children in prayer at the family altar. The greatest treasures 
which he left to his children consisted not in houses and lands, 
not in money, stocks and bonds, but in the spiritual wealth of a 
pure faith. Through his example and precepts they were placed 
in a position to lay up treasures in heaven "where neither moth 
nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through 
nor steal" (Matt. 6: 20). 

But he was a blessing not only to his own household but to 
the congregation of which he was a member. We can well say 
that God blessed our congregation through him. Abraham was 
a blessing to all with whom he came in contact. Wherever he 
pitched his tent he built an altar, offered sacrifice and called 
upon the name of the Lord (Gen. 12: 8). Abraham carried the 
knowledge of the true God and his worship from place to place 



84 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



in the course of his wanderings. He was a blessing to every com- 
munity where he dwelt for any length of time. God blessed his 
neighbors through him. So our departed brother took a deep 
interest in the spiritual welfare of his brethren in our congre- 
gation. He was a liberal supporter of its work. He was not only 
anxious to enjoy the benefits but willing to share the burdens 
which come with membership in a Christian congregation. He 
was ready to help not only with money but with his council and 
personal labor. Few attended the congregational meetings more 
regularly than he. When elected to office in the vestry he dis- 
charged his duty with conscientious care. In all this he was a 
blessing to our congregation. He was a faithful friend and trusty 
adviser of the pastor, a man who never abused confidence. At a 
time when the confessional standing of the congregation hung in 
the balance he stood, unflinchingly by the truth and was willing 
even to endure abuse and hatred for the sake of his Lord and 
Master. Yes, in those days when feeling ran high and many lost 
their heads because they were not firmly grounded in the faith 
he stood like a rock ''steadfast, immovable,'* on the side of 
truth and justice. In those stormy days it was a blessing to 
have such a man at the helm of our congregation. 

But he was a blessing not only to his household and his con- 
gregation but to the church at large. With his ample means he 
was ever ready to encourage every good work. Our educational 
and charitable institutions as well as our missions were the spe- 
cial objects of his liberality. And many a poor student prepar- 
ing for the ministry received substantial evidence of his good 
will. He took a deep interest in the work of Synod, and was 
one of the chief promoters of our mission work in this growing 
metropolis. Several of our younger congregations owe their ex- 
istence in large measure to his liberality. To whom much is given 
from him will much be required. This principle he aimed to carry 
out in his support of the general work of the church. He was 



BLESSINGS OF GOD IN LIFE OF DEPARTED §5 

an instrument in the hands of God for the bestowal of blessings. 
Even the memory of such men is a blessing as the Scriptures 
say: "The memory of the just is blessed" (Prov. 10: 7). In view 
of these facts let us say, "Praise God, from whom all blessings 
flow, Praise him, all creatures here below, Praise him above, ye 
heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Amen. 



WHAT LIGHTENS THE FAREWELL OP A CHRISTIAN 

FATHER FROM HIS LOVED ONES IN THE 

HOUR OF DEATH? 

By Rev. H. J. Schuh 

"Therefore watch, and remember, that hy the space of three years I 
ceased not to "warn every one night and day with tears. And now, breth- 
ren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to 
build up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sancti- 
fied."— Acts 20: 31, 32. 

Occasion: On the Death of a Christian Father 

Mourning Friends: 

In the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 13, the apostle writes: 
''For here have we no continuous city but we seek one to come." 
In the providence of God we must bid adieu to our best friends. 
When we meet in this world, we meet to part. It is sad to part 
from good friends even temporarily. But we comfort ourselves 
on such occasions with the thought that we shall perhaps soon 
meet again. But how sad is the parting when, at least for this 
world, there is no such probability! For our departed brother 
this sad hour came. Death compelled him to bid adieu to friends 
and family. The parting was sad, and yet in spite of the sad- 
ness his departure was cheerful. That which would have been 
almost unendurable was made comparatively easy by the grace 
of God. We all look forward to the hour of parting from our 
loved ones. What kind of a parting will it be ? You say : ' ' Oh, I 
cannot bear to think of it." And yet why should you close your 
eyes against that which is inevitable? You may die or your 
loved ones may die any day. The final leave-taking may come 
at any hour. Let me show you : 

86 



WHAT LIGHTENS THE FAREWELL? §7 

What Lightens the Farewell of a Christian from His Loved 
Ones in the Hour of Death? 
It is: 

I. The consciousness of having done his duty toward them. 
II. The assurance that God will be with them, and 
III. The hope of meeting them again in heaven. 

I. 

Our text presents to us not a death-bed scene, and yet it 
depicts a parting to meet no more in this world. It is a part of 
the farewell address of St. Paul to the elders of the congregation 
at Ephesus. In the 25th verse of our chapter the apostle says: 
*'And now behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone 
preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more." He 
knew that he was speaking to these people for the last time. 
This was their last parting. It was not the parting of a father 
from his children after the flesh. But Paul was a spiritual father 
to these Christians at Ephesus and loved them as only a true 
spiritual father could. And they loved him as only true children 
can. On that account when he bade them farewell we read 
(verses 37 and 38) : ^'And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's 
neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which 
he spake, that they should see his face no more." Paul was less 
disturbed at this parting than were his friends and spiritual 
children. What was it that made this farewell comparatively 
easy to him? What cheered him in this sad hour? 

We notice in the first place that he parts from them with 
the consciousness of having done his duty toward them. In the 
26th verse of our chapter we read: "Wherefore I take you to 
record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men, for I 
have not shunned to declare unto you all the council of God." 
And in our text we read: ''Remember that by the space of three 



88 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." 
He had done his duty towards them. There was no occasion for 
regrets along this line. He had a good conscience. Although in 
great weakness and with many shortcomings he had endeavored 
by the grace of God to be faithful to his charge. And this con- 
sciousness went a great way toward softening the pangs of 
parting. 

The Christian's only real comfort in death is the grace of God 
and the merits of Christ. His hope for the forgiveness of sins 
and eternal life is based not on anything he has done or left 
undone, but solely on the infinite mercy of God and the all- 
sufficient merit of his Savior. All merit of his own is excluded 
for he knows; ''Not by works of righteousness which we have 
done but according to his mercy God saved us" (Titus 3:5). He 
knows himself to be "justified freely by his grace through the 
redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Kom. 3: 24). 

And yet it is a satisfaction to be able to say on one's death 
bed: I have endeavored to do my duty toward my family. I 
have treated my wife not as a slave but as a helpmeet. Toward 
my children I endeavored to be not a tyrant but a real father. I 
have raised them not as slaves to lust and avarice but as children 
of God. How sad when a father must say: I have provided for 
the bodily wants of my children, but have starved their souls, 
and this neglect can never be replaced; they are lost for the 
kingdom of God; their eternal salvation is forfeited, and I am 
to blame for it ; I have failed to do my duty by them ; by my own 
wicked example I have led them astray from the way of life. O 
how terrible must be the parting of a father from his children 
if in the last solemn hour his conscience accuses him of such 
neglect ! 

You, dear friends, know full well that your father had no 
occasion for such self-accusations on his death-bed. Although he 
never made a boast of his faithfulness but was fully aware of his 



WHAT LIGHTENS THE FAREWELL? 89 

shortcomings yet we may truly say that by the grace of God he 
endeavored to do his duty toward his own household. His life 
was not a failure. In stewards we seek no more than that a man 
be found faithful, and he was faithful as you will all bear him 
witness. Let us thank God for this and aim to follow his example, 
so that our hour of departure may not be rendered sad by the 
consciousness of having failed to do our duty. 

II. 

A true Christian's farewell from his loved ones is also light- 
ened by the assurance that God will be with them. St. Paul bade 
adieu to his spiritual children with the consciousness of having 
done his duty toward them. By the grace of God he had brought 
them to faith in Christ. Like a true father he could rejoice in 
the children whom God had given him. But now the hour of 
parting had come. Henceforth he could no longer warn them 
against falling away from the faith, no longer admonish them 
to be steadfast in the Christian life. What would now become of 
his spiritual family? All the more must he have worried over 
their future when he thought of the dangers and temptations 
which threatened the Ephesians after his departure. In the 29th 
verse of this chapter we read: ''For I know this that after my 
departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing 
the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking per- 
verse things to draw away disciples after them. This was indeed 
a gloomy prospect. His fatherly heart had reason to be troubled 
at the thought of their possible apostacy from the pure Gospel. 
Would they fall in these awful temptations and render all his 
work and care on their behalf vain? Thoughts like these would 
certainly serve to make his farewell a sad one. 

What was his comfort against all such gloomy thoughts? 
What was there to cheer him up against such dark forebodings? 
He tells us in the words of our text : * ' And now, brethren, I 



90 FUNERAL SERMONS 

commend you to God and the word of his grace, which is able 
to build you up." This was his comfort: God would be with them 
after his departure. His Word would remain with them even 
if their spiritual leader, teacher and father was compelled to 
take leave. He placed the future of his loved ones in the hands 
of God, and this thought removed all the load of anxious care. 
With the assurance that God would be with them he could bid 
them a cheerful farewell. 

The anxiety of a father for the future of his family has cer- 
tainly caused many a sad last farewell. Who among us has not 
asked the question, What will become of my poor wife and 
helpless children when I am gone? Who shall care for them 
and be a father to the fatherless? And this anxiety is not lim- 
ited to the bodily welfare of wife and children. Many a Chris- 
tian father has worried over the thought of leaving his chil- 
dren in a wicked world. It is a cold and uncharitable world, a 
world where thousands have made shipwreck concerning faith. 
Many a father has asked himself on his death-bed : Will my chil- 
dren do honor to the good name of my house? Will they con- 
tinue to walk in the way of life ? Will they remain faithful to the 
Savior to whom they were brought in Baptism? Will they keep 
their confirmation vow? Will my sons take my place in the 
congregation for whose welfare I labored so diligently? Ques- 
tions like these must lie heavy on the heart of a Christian father 
especially in view of the fact that so often after the death of a 
Christian father his house literally seems to fall to pieces. In 
view of such dark forebodings what can serve to lighten the fare- 
well of a Christian from his loved ones? Let him say with St. 
Paul in our text: ''And now, brethren, I commend you to God 
and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up." When 
the patriarch Jacob came to die he said to his son: "Behold I 
die; but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the 
land of your fathers" (Gen. 48: 21). When you come to die 



WHAT LIGHTENS THE FAREWELL? 91 

and think of all the possible dangers which threaten your loved 
ones after your departure you can do no better than to com- 
mend them to the loving hands of your heavenly Father. You 
must die, but God cannot die. He has promised to be a father to 
the fatherless. If you have faithfully done your duty toward 
your household while you lived, then let God take care of the 
rest. "Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you" 
(I Peter 5:7). This also includes death-bed cares. Even these 
last anxious cares you may cast on the Lord with the blessed 
assurance that he will provide for, defend and deliver your loved 
ones. By so doing you will lighten the farewell from your own 
in the hour of death. AVhen Dr. Luther was once at the point 
of death he called his wife and little child to his bedside and 
when the babe smiled at him he said: '^0 thou dear child, now 
I commend my dear Katie and thou dearest orphan to my dear, 
pious and faithful God. You have nothing; but God who is a 
father of the widow and orphan, will provide and care for you. ' ' 

III. 

And in the third place the hope of meeting his loved ones in 
heaven lightens the farewell of a Christian on his death-bed. 
Paul bade adieu to his dear friends and spiritual children at 
Ephesus and was compelled to say: "I know that ye all, among 
whom I have preached the kingdom of God, shall see my face 
no more." This then was humanly speaking the last farewell. 
They parted never to meet again in this world. If on other 
occasions he departed from them to labor elsewhere on the great 
harvest field of the world he left with the hope of seeing them 
again, as he frequently visited the congregations which he had 
founded to strengthen them in the faith. But this leave-taking 
was not brightened by such a hope. He never expected to meet 
these Christians at Ephesus again on this side of eternity. The 
Spirit of God had revealed to him the fact that his end was near 



92 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



at hand. He never expected to return to Ephesus. Is it a won- 
der that we read in the last words of our chapter: ''And they 
all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him. Sorrow- 
ing worst of all for the words which he spake that they should 
see his face no more." It was a sad parting. Their tears were 
evidence of real sorrow. And who would doubt that even with 
the apostle it was a solemn hour? 

What it was that lightened this sad parting we see from his 
own words: ''And now, brethren, I commend you to God which 
is able to give you an inheritance among all them that are sancti- 
fied." He thought of the inheritance of the saints in light, of 
the glories of heaven. Yes, they parted to meet again before the 
great white throne above. He had a joyful answer to the ques- 
tion: Shall we meet again? Yes, surely in heaven. Their separa- 
tion was only temporary. They were all on the road to a blissful 
eternity. Their ways parted only for a short time. In heaven 
they would meet again. 

Dear friends, how often your father bid you good-by. Every 
morning when he went to work, every time when he started on a 
journey he bid you farewell. Such leave-takings were not espe- 
cially hard; for you felt sure he would come again. Joyfully 
you greeted him when he returned from work in the evening or 
when he came back from a journey. The children ran out to 
greet him with peals of laughter. But the leave-taking three 
days ago was not of this character. It was unutterably sad. 
There was much weeping and shedding of tears. And why? Be- 
cause you said: "We shall never see him again in this world. 
This is the last farewell. His eyes are closed forever. The bond 
that united us is torn asunder for good." 

Yes, my beloved, if this were literally true we would all be 
comfortless at this last farewell. But, thanks be to God, it is not 
literally true. Your father has not departed that you shall see 
him no more. He has only gone before and you hope to follow 



WHAT LIGHTENS THE FAREWELL? 93 

in due time. He has entered the blessed abode which is the goal 
of the pilgrimage of all God's children. These eyes are not closed 
forever but only until they open anew on the resurrection morn 
to the light of heaven. The glorious hope of a blessed reunion in 
heaven lightens our farewell from those who die in the Lord. 
Yes, we shall meet again and meet to part no more. At parting 
we can cheerfully sing: 

''God be with you till we meet again, 
By his councils guide, uphold you, 
With his sheep securely fold you, 
God be with you till we meet again. 

' ' God be with you till we meet again, 
'Neath his wings securely hide you, 
Daily manna stilj provide you, 
God be with you till we meet again. 

''Till we meet at Jesus' feet, 

God be with you till we meet again." 

Amen. 



A JOYOUS CRY AT THE APPROACH OF DEATH 
By Rev. W. E. Tressel 

**For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at 
hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to 
me only, hut unto all them also that love his appearing." — II Tim. 4: 6-8. 

Occasion : For an Aged and Loyal Christian Man 

Man in his natural state is afraid of death. And he has 
abundant reason to fear this king of terrors. A mystery, inex- 
plicable to the natural man, surrounds the dead. The eye that 
gleamed with intelligence is closed; the face that glowed with 
health and broke into smiles is pale and impassive; the hand 
that reached out in warm and friendly greeting is cold and 
unresponsive. Whither has the soul that once inhabited this 
tenement of clay taken its flight? Will the grave swallow up 
the body and never surrender its prey? 

The natural man has no adequate answer to these questions. 
He can only look on death with fear and trembling. He may 
grow somewhat bold and defiant with the passage of the years; 
wealth and education, social standing and political influence 
may lead him, in his haughtiness of spirit, to become seemingly 
indifferent towards the frightful and all-engulfing grave; but 
he cannot banish all dread of this hideous monster. In dreams 
of the night, in hours of waking and working, death stalks him. 
Fears are allayed for a time only. Amid "the tumult and the 
shouting" of this busy earth, the warnings of impending death 
may not always sound with equal distinctness; but the latent 

94 



AJOYOUSCRYATDEATH 95 

fears will soon awaken to fresh activity. The death of relative or 
friend, the funeral procession, the sight of cemetery, grave and 
stone, will stir to life unpleasant thoughts and dormant fears. 
And when the unregenerate man lays him down to the sleep that 
knows no waking in this world-age, it is with a shudder at 
thought of what may be. 

In the state of grace man does not experience such torment of 
fear. The grave has been robbed of its victory, death has lost 
its sting, the king is shorn of his terrors. ''The voice of rejoicing 
and salvation "has been heard in the tabernacles of the right- 
eous." "The right hand of the Lord" hath done "valiantly." 
"The right hand of the Lord is exalted." "I shall not die, but 
live, and declare the works of the Lord," is the shout of the 
regenerate man. 

The attitude of the children of God toward death was nobly 
exemplified in St. Paul. With every year spent in the kingdom 
of God's Son, Christ Jesus, he grew stronger in the faith and 
bolder in his confession of the only name that saves. Advancing 
years brought increasing pains and sorrow^s, persecution and 
imprisonment; but the greatest apostle of them all remained 
undaunted. We thrill as we hear, ringing down through the 
centuries : 

St. Paul's Joyous Cry at the Approach of Death 

For it is: 

I. A Cry of Exultation. 
II. A Cry of Exaltation. 

More than ordinarily earnest and impressive are the con- 
tents of this chapter. St. Paul urges his spiritual son to be faith- 
ful in his ministry. He is to preach the Word; to be instant in 
season, out of season; to reprove, to rebuke, to exhort with all 
long-suffering and doctrine. Timothy is warned to be prepared 



96 FUNERAL SERMONS 

against the time when men will welcome false and self-seeking 
teachers; when fables, rather than the truth, will successfully 
appeal to them. "But watch thou in all things," the apostle 
continues: ''Endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, 
make full proof of thy ministrj^" 

These admonitions are the more enforced and impressed on 
the young disciple's mind by St. Paul's reference to his ap- 
proaching death: "For I am now ready to be offered and the 
time of my departure is at hand." Here is the spirit of the 
brave and stalwart warrior who has fought long and well in the 
holy cause, and who now hails with gladness the rest from strife 
and the dawn of a cloudless, glorious, never-ending day, when 
the garment of the warrior, no longer rolled in blood, shall be 
stainless in the beautiful light which shines forth from the Son 
of Righteousness. 

It is a cry of exultation which sounds in our ears as we follow 
the apostle from scene to scene which his graphic pen describes 
for us. "I am now ready to be offered," he declares. Like a 
drink-offering, or libation, he is ready to be poured out on the 
altar, to shed his life's blood. The nearness of death does not 
cause him to start and shudder. Foreseeing that cruel death by 
martyrdom will be his portion, he does not shrink from the 
ordeal. No cry of terror escapes his lips: his cry is a cry of 
exultation. 

The inspired writer carries his readers, in imagination, from 
the altar and its sacred surroundings to the busy sea-shore. 
Ships are entering and leaving the harbor, others are at anchor. 
The apostle's own bark is about to be loosed from its moorings: 
"the time of my departure ('loosing of anchor and rope') is at 
hand." The seaman looks forward in glad expectancy to the 
commencement of the voyage. The swelling sail, the foaming 
wave, the invigorating ocean breezes, all summon him from his 
haunts and associates on shore. The apostle is full of joy as he 



AJOYOTJSCRYATDBATH 97 

prepares to loose from the shores of time and set out for the 
eternal shore. He longs for this last voyage, ''a voyage to the 
eternal harbor of heavenly peace." His cry is not one of sorrow 
and repining: it is the cry of exultation. 

And now the reader is transported from the noise and bustle 
of the teeming shore to the roar and tumult of the arena. The 
good fight have I fought ; the race have I finished ; the faith have 
I kept. The apostle to the Gentiles has engaged in many a des- 
perate conflict. He has been pitted against ''wild beasts." His 
fighting has not been in the black livery of hell; he has not 
fought under the flag of traitor or pirate; he has not done 
obeisance to Satan, the world, the flesh. He has fought the good 
fight. Christ has been his captain. He has fought for the truth 
and against error. He has defended righteousness and has 
assailed all wrong and wickedness. He has maintained the cause 
of Christ and salvation through him alone. ''The good fight I 
have fought." Hear the cry of exultation! 

"The race have I finished." Every weight is laid aside, the 
sin which doth so easily beset us is cast away, and before the 
saints, that cloud of friendly and approving witnesses, the race 
set before him is run with patience. Paul says his life has been a 
race. The course is now about finished; he has entered the 
home-stretch, and is still looking to Jesus, the Author and Fin- 
isher of his faith. He has not fallen by the roadside, he has not 
faltered. He has been faithful all the way. "The course have I 
finished." Do you note the cry of exultation? 

"The faith have I kept" — once more rings out the triumph- 
ant voice of the apostle. There is a faith of the heart, with which 
we believe, with which Christ and his merits are accepted. This 
faith the great Paul had indeed defended. But it is not of this 
faith that he here speaks. There is still another kind of faith: 
the faith which is believed; the body and deposit of truth; "that 
good thing" which has been committed to us and which we are 



98 FUNERAL SERMONS 

to ''keep by the Holy Ghost" (II Tim. 1: 14). We read con- 
cerning this faith in the letter of Jude: "Contending earnestly 
for the faith once for all delivered to the saints." Time would 
fail for the recounting of the many occasions when Paul presented 
with utmost fidelity the faith, the truth, that saves; how, before 
friend and foe, in the presence of great and small, in many climes, 
in cities, towns, and hamlets, he proclaimed the Gospel. As his 
career draws to a close, he shouts: ''The faith have I kept." 
Once more rings forth the cry of exultation. 

All this triumph proceeds, not from the lips of Paul the 
Pharisee, but from the lips of Paul the Christian. This is no 
carnal boasting. It is the same spiritually minded Paul who 
lamented his wretchedness, Avho announced the universality of 
sin and death, and heralded the sole Saviordom of Christ. The 
victor has not fallen from the heights of grace to the vile depths 
of work righteousness. He hath done all things through Christ 
which strengthened him. 

"Christ! I am Christ's! and let the name suffice you; 
Aye, for me, too, he greatly hath sufficed; 
Lo, with no winning words I would entice you; 
Paul has no honor and no friend but Christ." 

My dear friends, you today mourn the death of a beloved 
father. You should be thankful that he was spared to you through 
so long a period of years. He had your respect and affection, for 
he was a man of sterling character, of intellectual power, of 
sound judgment, of kindly and gracious disposition. He loved 
his home, and beautified and glorified it not only with the things 
of this life, but especially with the treasures, heavenly and eter- 
nal. Though not a minister, but a layman, our departed father 
in Israel was a staunch defender of the faith as it is in Jesus. 
His understanding of Bible teaching was clear; his grasp of the 
position of our church on the great questions affecting the soul's 



A JOYOUS CRT AT DEATH 99 

welfare was intelligent and strong. In days of stress and storm 
he did not waver. When weaklings were prone to surrender 
and to compromise the truth, he stood firm. He contended ear- 
nestly for the faith. His pastors found in him a loyal friend and, 
when days were dark, a comforter, and, when the battle was 
fierce, a companion and an ally of no mean caliber. We mourn 
today. But our father in Christ mourns not. He exults. He has 
fought the good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the 
faith. This was his exultant cry when death was near. This was 
his triumphant shout as his eyes closed on the scenes temporal 
and his spirit, loosed from its earthly moorings, was wafted 
to the heavenly shore. God grant you, his children, grace to 
live such a life in Christ, and to die in this same spirit of vic- 
tory. May we all take courage from the life and the death of 
this Christian father. Oh, let us not deny, but ever confess, the 
truth as God has revealed it in his holy Word and taught it to 
the church, and let us hold in unwavering faith to the Savior who 
bought us with his blood and made final victory possible and 
certain. 

The apostle turns from the past to the future. He would now 
forget those things which are behind and reach forth unto those 
things which are before. He presses ''toward the mark for the 
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The things 
which he beholds in prospect elate him, and now we hear from 
his lips: 

A Cry of Exaltation 

In an exalted frame of mind, in a spirit of utter joy and hope, 
the hope that maketh not ashamed, the veteran of many spiritual 
conflicts sends out the word, ''Henceforth there is laid up for me 
the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all 
them that have loved his appearing." 



100 FUNERAL SERMONS 

There remains nothing more to be done save the crowning 
of the victor. The struggle is ended, the pain and the suffering 
are over. As he who contended manfully and successfully in the 
arena is crowned by the judges of the contest; as he who has 
run his race and won it is borne in triumph by his friends to 
receive the coveted prize — so the great apostle turns to his 
Judge, from whose hand he is to receive a reward infinitely more 
precious than any earthly reward or crown which could be given. 
The crown of righteousness is to be his portion. The divine com- 
mand, ''Be ye holy," is now to be accomplished perfectly in the 
heart and the life of this much-tried apostle. He who exclaimed, 
*'0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this 
body of death" (Rom. 8 : 24) ? now is enabled to shout in jubilant 
tones, **I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord," and, 
''Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our 
Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15: 27). The days of sinful flesh 
are past, the time of temptation is no more — in that kingdom 
of glory to which the apostle in exalted spirit looks forward. 
His crown of righteousness will not be merely an imputed right- 
eousness, the righteousness of Christ reckoned to him who in 
faith accepts it (and who can ever command eloquence golden 
enough to declare that righteousness, who can summon to his aid 
melody sweet enough to sound forth the praise of that righteous- 
ness?); but his righteousness will be that of a heart pure and 
undefiled, an intellect delivered from the beclouding and de- 
grading power of sin, a conscience void of all offence. He will 
then be transformed, and will have renewing of mind in full 
perfection. glorious hour! unspeakably blessed days and 
years and ages when sin shall be for him no more ! 

It is true that not by human might, nor by his own endeavor 
has the apostle earned the crown of righteousness. It is a free 
gift, earned by Christ, and now bestowed by him. The apostle 
still clings to the dear old truth, "By grace are ye saved through 



AJOYOUSCRYATDEATH 101 

faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God'* (Eph. 
2:8). On the borderland between two worlds, St. Paul finds com- 
fort in Christ and in him alone. Yes, it is this very Christ from 
whose hand the apostle will receive his crown. He who died to 
win salvation is the man whom God has appointed to distribute 
final rewards and punishments. He, even the Lord Jesus, who 
*' shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels," will 
appear as the righteous Judge. His judgment is infallible. There- 
fore, when the crown is placed on the victorious apostle's brow, 
no hand dare remove that emblem of triumph. Surely, Paul had 
ample reason, in view of the Judge's gracious and irreversible de- 
cision and in prospect of the golden crown of righteousness, to 
cry out in the spirit of exaltation. 

''A great additional source of joy to Paul" is exhibited in 
the following words: "And not to me only." The victor is not 
afflicted with selfishness, nor is he inflated with thoughts of him- 
self as are so many who have triumphed in the field of battle 
or in the arena of scientific controversy. ''To all them that have 
loved his appearing" will a crown be given. How often Paul had 
urged his pupils and his readers in general to look ''for that 
blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and 
our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2: 13). All who heeded this 
injunction, all whose habit of life it was to look forward in faith 
and hope to the consummation of all things, would be associated 
with this unselfish apostle in the glories of "that day." The cry 
of exaltation is heard in these sentences of St. Paul. The vener- 
able man, the bruised and scarred warrior is in an ecstasy of joy 
because of those heavenly treasures which are soon to be his ever- 
lasting possession, and which the saints in glory will share with 
him. 

Beloved, you know how your father longed for the home 
above. He prayed that he might be delivered from the burdens 
and the cares of time. He asked that he might soon enjoy that 



102 FUNERAL SERMONS 

rest which remaineth unto the people of God. In prospect of 
joys which have no end, in certain hope that the crown of right- 
eousness would soon be his, he was uplifted in spirit, and his 
words as death drew near were a cry of exaltation. Ah, my 
friends, have you caught from his ''joyance the surprise of joy"? 
Though sorrowing this day and hour, are you still happy in the 
thought that your father has gone home to God, and are you 
happy in the conviction that you are following your father in 
the way which can bring only exaltation of spirit ? I have reason 
to believe and to hope this of you. God grant you his grace, for 
Christ's sake, that you may fight the good fight of faith and in 
the end receive the crown of righteousness, the salvation of your 
souls. 

We stand, in imagination, on the great shore laved by the 
waters of eternity. A frail bark looses from its moorings. The 
sails fill with the favoring breeze. The vessel sets forth on its 
outbound voyage, and soon is speeding towards the heavenly 
goal. At the bow stands the mariner, anxiously looking for signs 
of yonder world. And now he beholds what seems to be a cross.* 
As he draws nearer and nearer to his destination, he sees no 
longer a cross, but the blessed Savior himself, with arms out- 
stretched in welcome. The bark grates upon the shore. The 
voyager leaps from his frail craft and prostrates himself on the 
eternal sands before his Judge and Savior. And as, in exultant 
voice and spirit of exaltation, the prostrate one exclaims, "I 
have fought a good fight," the Savior places on his brow a 
golden crown and in tones of incomparable sweetness says: 
''Servant of God, well done; well hast thou fought the better 
fight." Amen. 



* Conclusion suggested by a large and beautiful floral cross given by the 
children of the deceased and placed on the altar during the funeral service. 



WHAT MAKES THE CHRISTIAN WILLING TO DEPART? 

By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to "be 
with Christ; which is far better." — Philippians 1: 23. 

Occasion: The Death of an Elderly Pastor 

Brethren of the Ministry, Members of this Congregation, and 
especially mourning Family: 

What many of us have feared for the last two months has 
come to pass. Our brother and fellov^-laborer has been called 
out of time to his reward. I say, we feared this, because many 
of us loved him, were united with him by bonds of affection 
and we dreaded the pain that comes from separation. We did 
not fear this separation for his sake, because he prayed much 
to be relieved and was ready and prepared for the end. We 
feared it for our sakes. It may have been a selfish fear, but it 
was there. It would have been better to have asked God to give 
us resignation to his will and to have taken the saints made 
perfect and the holy angels for our example; for they do the 
will of God gladly and cheerfully. 

Now we are gathered here to give this brother a Christian 
burial, to speak words of comfort to bleeding hearts, to help 
these friends to submit their wills to God, to thank the Lord 
for all the mercy and truth that he has shown the departed, and 
to admonish all to faithfulness unto the end. Even in our afflic- 
tion and amid tears, though emotion choke the voice and aroused 
feelings strive for mastery, we are going to lift up our hearts 
to the Giver of every good and perfect gift and say: ''Father, 

103 



IQ^ FUNERAL SERMONS 

thy will be done. We thank thee." And even while we say it 
there steals into our hearts gratitude and trust and resignation. 

Those who stood nearest our brother during the last months 
noticed that he was possessed of but one feeling, which devel- 
oped into a longing. He seemed to have a premonition that the 
end was at hand. Why should a Christian not have it ; why should 
the Spirit of God not commune with the believing soul and 
mature this thought within him and so reveal the approach of 
the end ? But in spite of all the encouragement that was given by 
a devoted wife and children he seemed unable to banish from 
his mind this thought and that probably because it was born 
of God. Repeatedly he expressed his willingness to go and made 
his preparation for it. He felt that his work was done, that he 
would be better off to be at rest. 

God has made us with a love for life. We cling to it most 
tenaciously. This is especially the case in life's early stages. 
Ordinarily a child of God wishes to live and to glorify God by a 
life of service. Frequently to desire to die is sinful, because 
it is born of a rebellious, impatient heart. But there may be cir- 
cumstances that ripen within us the desire to depart. You have 
an example to prove this statement in so exemplary a Christian 
as St. Paul. We ask the question: 

What Makfes the Christian Willing to Depart? 

I. The Cross: At the time that the apostle, Paul, wrote the 
words of this text he was a prisoner in a Roman prison. The 
last years of his life are full of adventure and hardship. There 
was scarcely a hardship to which he was not exposed. He seems 
to have had a premonition that his end was rapidly approaching 
and he expresses his willingness to go. He knew that he would 
experience a great relief if he went from battle to victory. The 
cross aroused in him such a longing. 



WHAT MAKES THE CHRISTIAN WILLING? IQS 

Our departed brother bore the ills that are common to all 
men. The race is under the curse of sin and on some individuals 
it rests more heavily than on others. No matter how fortunate 
man's lot may be, he is in a world of sin and the relation be- 
tween himself and God is disturbed. Fix it as we will, we cannot 
escape the toil for bread and the care that goes with the rearing 
of families and the trials that necessarily go with our callings. 
During the last four years our brother was a man in broken 
health and at times suffered severely. The disease that took him 
off must have preyed on him a long time. 

Is it any wonder that when a man approaches the period 
of natural decline and in addition is a constant sufferer that 
weak, human nature cries for relief and that he is ready to 
depart ? 

Brother S bore the crosses that go with Christian life. 

There are the constant struggles with self, the battle with sin 
in the heart. "What makes the struggle without so hard to resist 
is the weakness within. Read the epistles of Paul if you want 
an accurate description of the battle that rages within the heart. 
No man is a Christian who has not experienced it. So long as 
the Spirit is present the battle rages. By its ferocity the degree 
of grace is determined. If you are a child of God, review your 
own experiences. Recall the temptations of Satan, his lies, his 
cunning, his flattery, his trickery. Then recall the pleadings of 
the Spirit, his warnings, his chidings, his instructions. The one 
has impelled you to sin; the other has restrained you, while you 
have been like a football tossed hither and thither. How often 
when the battle was hottest, you have been just ready to give 
up and but for the sustaining hand of God, you would have 
succumbed. What a relief it will be when the battle is over! 

Disabuse your mind of the thought that a minister has no 
such a battle to pass through and to renew every day. Do not 
believe that a minister has no besetting sin, no weakness out of 



106 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



which Satan makes capital, that he does not here and there slip 
and fall and that he is not often thoroughly ashamed of the poor 
fight that he has put up. Do not think that a preacher is built 
on different lines from other Christians. He has the same struggle 
with his temper, his tongue, his hand, his eyes and his heart that 
other Christians have. Do not believe that a preacher has no 
dark hours, no periods of gloom and even despondency, no hor- 
rible thoughts and Satanic suggestions. Just because he is a 
preacher, these temptations are all intensified. Satan would 
rather vanquish the captain than a private. What rejoicing 
among the wicked when a preacher slips ! And how far-reaching 
the effects when a minister of the Gospel side-steps ! 

Is it any wonder that a serious-minded Christian will occa- 
sionally sigh: '*0 God, relieve me from this endless struggle, 
and give me the final victory over my and thine enemies ! ' ' 

The departed bore the crosses and afflictions that go with his 
calling. It was his lot to be a preacher. For forty years he stood 
in the pulpit and if you will go and ask the people whom he 
served: "What was the central thought of all his preaching and 
teaching?" I make bold to assert that to a man they will say: 
''He held up the cross and on it we saw our crucified Lord." He 
did not stand in front of the cross that his shadow might fall 
upon the Lord, it was not his person that was to be prominent; 
but modestly he stood behind the cross where its shadow fell on 
him. While many preachers find the cross of Christ a tame, and 
even a threadbare subject, not he. He knew that the supreme 
desire of a repentant sinner is forgiveness, and he also knew 
that nothing gives forgiveness, but the blood of Christ. Happy the 
preacher whose heart has been cleansed by it and to whose soul 
it has become the highest treasure ! 

But the man that preaches the cross of Christ with all that it 
implies, will find out that he must bear it. In every community 
the man who stands unflinchingly for righteousness, will stir 



WHAT MAKES THE CHRISTIAN WILLING? IQT 

up Satan and his adherents. Preaching Christ implies a clear 
testimony against sin and an earnest admonition to a holy life. 
Let your message be saturated with these ideas, that sin is an 
offence to God, that he will punish it, that repentance implies a 
rejection of sin and the new life and bear the message that is 
personal, searching, incisive and let us see whether there is not 
plenty of opposition. Woe to that preacher who sends the sin- 
ner home from church at ease with his life and satisfied with his 
course! When God calls him to an account how will he stand! 
But the man who arouses the sinner from his condition, must 
expect that if he drags a soul out of the kingdom of darkness 
Satan will retaliate. 

I think that I speak truth when I say that in any given 
community no man has so many friends and no man has so many 
enemies as the Christian minister. No man is loved more than 
he, and no man is hated worse. No man is more highly respected 
and no man is more thoroughly despised than he. Of no man does 
the community speak more kindly, but no man is more censured 
and defamed than the preacher. Some love to belittle his person 
and his Avork by telling jokes about him and poking fun at him; 
but no man is more desired on serious occasions and exerts a 
profounder influence on community life than he. 

It is true that some of the crosses which the preacher bears 
he prepares for himself. We are only human and make mistakes, 
but they are of the intellect rather than of the heart. No matter 
how well intentioned the pastor is he may err and sometimes 
seriously. This often gives rise to misunderstandings and soon 
to persecutions. Sometimes in moral c[uestions the pastor may 
lack tact and a molehill may grow into a mountain. But no mat- 
ter how careful and tactful the pastor may be, let us not forget 
that the work is done in opposition to the devil and when you 
strike at him, he strikes back. There are sometimes treacherous, 
malicious members in the congregation who take advantage of a 



108 



FUNEEAL SERMONS 



minister's weakness and magnify his faults. So the minister as 
much if not more than the members is a cross bearer. 

Brethren of the ministry, have you never said in an hour of 
weakness: ''0 God, why hast thou led me into this calling and 
into the midst of these people?" And when the waters of tribu- 
lation threatened to engulf you, have you never said: '^0 Lord, 
it is enough; I am ready to depart." 

Yes, the cross makes a Christian ready to depart. 

II. The Crown: St. Paul, the writer of this text, looked for- 
ward to the crown. He reviews his life. Casting a sweeping look 
backward he says: "I have fought the good fight of faith, I have 
finished my course, I have kept the faith." And then turning 
toward the future he sees the crown: ''Henceforth there is laid 
up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the right- 
eous judge, shall give me at that day." It is this that gives him 
hope and that softens the terrors of death. 

This crown came to our Lord. His whole life was not spent 
in the state of humiliation, but this being ended and the work 
of that state being accomplished, he passed into the state of 
exaltation and is now crowned with everlasting glory. His life 
was not made up entirely of suffering and persecution and con- 
fiict and death. He did not forever lay aside the use of his divine 
power and majesty. He did this for a season, that he might pay 
the penalty of sin. But when that was accomplished he unceas- 
ingly exercises his divine majesty and now sits at the right hand 
of God. It was the prospect of this glory that cheered him. When 
death stared him in the face, he looked beyond the grave to his 
resurrection and found support. It was the assurance of victory 
that gave him courage to enter the conflict. 

It was he who said: "Where I am there shall my disciples be 
also." The members belong to the head and go with it to shame 
or glory. The soldier goes with his general both to battle and to 



WHAT MAKES THE CHRISTIAN WILLING? 109 

triumph ; and out on the battlefield, amid shot and shell, it is the 
prospect of victory that gives courage. 

The crown was always the symbol of victory and honor. In 
times past it was placed on the brow of the conqueror, the ath- 
lete, the poet, the warrior, or on any one who had rendered a 
service of distinction. Frequently among these ancients it was 
only a wreath of laurel that w^ould fade away, but it was desired 
for what it represented. It was the sign of the recognition of 
distinguished service by the people and no price was too great 
to give in exchange for it. It gratified the natural craving of 
the human heart. It was for this crown that the victor had 
trained for and for it he had lived. No sacrifice was too great, no 
exercise too strenuous, no demand too severe to gain the crown. 
And when it came, so great was the joy that sometimes fathers 
fell dead from excitement when their sons were so honored; 
and sons immortalized their own and the names of their families 
when they were so crowned. 

There will be a special lustre about the crown of the preacher. 
' ' They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament 
and they that have led many unto righteousness, as the stars 
forever and ever." ''He that soweth bountifully, shall reap boun- 
tifully." Ours it not a calling that is highly esteemed by the 
world; but it is the most glorious of all callings because it is 
concerned about souls. There is an abundant reward for that 
man who points souls heavenward. In this life the greatest re- 
ward of our work is the gratitude of a rescued soul. What will 
it be on the other side! Suppose that some soul shall meet you 
as you enter heaven and shall lead you down the golden street 
up to the throne and shall say: "Father, this is the man who 
taught me the way of life. I am here because he was a faithful 
servant of thine. Add luster to his crown." That will call forth 
the shout of the redeemed and the swelling anthem of the saved. 



110 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



God has not told us much about the crown, nor the life to 
come. It is enough for us to know that it exists and that it 
awaits us. In this present state if it were revealed in all its 
fulness, no doubt, we could not grasp it anyway and if we could 
see it, its glory would blind us. Yes, here and there a ray of 
light falls upon us from that better world, but it is just a glint 
of light that comes through a chink in the wall that separates 
time from eternity. Sometimes these revelations are given us in 
figures of speech to stoop to our weakness because we could not 
grasp the literal statement. But Paul here gives us a revelation 
that is literal, that we can understand and that is all that we 
need. He says: "I will be with my Lord." That's all that I want. 
I do not care where heaven is, nor what I will do there. I want 
to be with Jesus and I know that if it comes to pass, I will be 
happy. All my longings, aspirations and hopes will be fulfilled. 
If I can be made like him in holiness and righteousness, if I can 
strip off this garment of sin and put on the robe of perfection, 
that will be heaven for me. If I can live in his presence and 
like Moses, look upon his face and absorb his glory till I shine, 
that will be heaven for me. 

Brethren of the ministry, be faithful; there awaits you a 
crown. Bear, endure, suffer, but do not retreat: for ''I reckon 
that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." And when 
you contemplate the crown, the prompting of the Spirit will 
say: "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." 

The old and faithful parishioners of our departed brother 
have sent in this beautiful floral tribute. It answers the ques- 
tion: ''What makes a Christian ready to depart?" "With mute 
lips and with silence that is more eloquent than speech it an- 
swers: "The Cross and CroAvn." Let us hope that our brother 
now wears the crown. Amen. 



OUR DEPARTURE 
By Rev. M. K. Hartmann 

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy 
word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared 
before the face of all people." — Luke 2: 29-30. 

Occasion: A Sermon to the Old 

This text belongs to the old. Its message of joy and cheer 
is very acceptable to them. The young too may find consolation 
here; but especially the old. Our hearts beat for the old. They 
have been with us so long. Their departure is near at hand. Our 
tears and our prayers are with them, our tears because we are 
sorry to see them go, our prayers, we wish them God's peace 
on their last long journey. 

Life is a gift. Life is a blessing. Undeniably so, if lived ac- 
cording to the precepts of God and faith in Jesus. Such a life 
after all is the only life well worth living. And such a life 
Simeon lived. Turn to the Sacred Book, read what the evangelist 
says about him: ''And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, 
whose name was Simeon; and the same was just and devout, 
waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was 
upon him." What a testimony to this man's life and character! 

We can never grow weary of reading the beautiful story of 
Simeon's meeting with the child Jesus in the temple. Led by 
the Spirit the old man wends his way once more to the temple 
of God. His mind ever retains in firm grasp the promise of the 
Holy Spirit: that he should not die, before he had seen "The 
Hope of Israel." He firmly believes the promise. In the temple 

111 



J^;|^2 FUNERAL SERMONS 

Simeon finds the child, Jesus, joyfully he takes it in his arms, 
holds it aloft and pours out his soul to God. And this is the 
burden of his song; ''Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart 
in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy 
salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people. 
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people 
Israel." 

Let us, at this hour, center our thoughts about our departure. 
We are about to lower into the bosom of Mother Earth one who 
has labored faithfully for many years in the vineyard of the 
Lord. Peace is now his reward, by the grace of God. But what 
about our departure? The manner of our departure; this is 
the most momentous question that faces us. It is important for 
us that we get along in this life, that we get through it success- 
fully; but far more important to us, is the manner of our de- 
parture, how we get out of this life. 

I. Depart in peace: Let our departure be in peace, in peace 
with our fellow-men if possible, in peace with ourselves, but 
above all in peace with our God. The Christian longs for peace, 
strives for peace, finds it in life and retains it in death. Death 
is but a sleep and then the blessed awakening in the kingdom of 
God. Simeon departed in peace, be assured of that, my friend. 
He was ready, he was prepared for the day, it should not come 
upon him unawares. What a lesson for us all. Be ready, be pre- 
pared. God was with Simeon before that eventful hour, in the 
temple where he found the Messiah. God heard his prayer. 
Simeon did not fear. The evening shadows, proclaiming the 
night, descend upon him, death draws near. Simeon bows his 
head, for God is with him. The Lord is his sun and shield. He 
will not fail him, but will guide him through the valley of the 
shadow of death. To die — your conscience at rest and God with 
you — is bliss. Without, the tempest rages; the breakers roar, 
the panther cries ; within, all is quiet, peace 9,nd rest. But to die 



OUR DEPARTURE 113 

with a forlorn hope, to die with a stricken conscience, to die in 
enmity with God: fatal end! indescribable woe! Or to die, a 
disciple of those who say, ''Eat, drink and be merry," God- 
forgotten, God-ignored — eternal death! Do not be deceived, the 
world may offer you peace, beware of her peace. She has no 
peace to give. Only in Christ Jesus can you find peace. 

To depart in peace you must lay hold of the cross. Believe 
in the atoning power of the blood of Jesus. Confess your sins, 
strive for better things, follow in the footsteps of the Master, 
and serve God in fear and love. Paul departed in peace, because 
he had fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the 
faith. Death has no terror for the Christian, the thought of judg- 
ment no dread. ''Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy 
blood was shed for me ... I come, I come." 

II. Heaven our desire: Peace and heaven go hand in hand. 
Heaven is the blessed land of peace, perfect peace reigns there; 
peace, and joy unconfined. 

The old must die. All laws point that way. The young, how- 
ever, are not immune. "So teach us, to number our days; that 
we may apply our heart unto wisdom." But life, in this world, 
means something to us all, even to the old. Life here has also 
a kingdom for the old and faithful : the sun still shines for them ; 
the flowers are still for them; hope never dying is strong within 
them; faith victorious in many trials buoys their spirit up. And 
borne on the wings of that faith, the Christian is ever content 
with his lot. But the future is calling, the land beyond rises 
before them. "Heaven is my home." Like Simeon's the heart 
is full of longing and expectation. Like St. Paul we say: "For 
. . . . having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; 
which is far better." 

In death all ties that hold us to the earth are broken. Tender, 
loving ties must then break. Sometimes we dread the day and 
occasion when these ties must be severed, and when we must go, 



114 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



we may be tempted somewhat to linger. But let nothing tempt 
us and put us in an unwilling state of mind. Let us rather hail 
the day with joy. At death all loving ties are broken. He who 
will not deny himself, take up the cross and follow Jesus and who 
lives for this world alone, who is a servant of mammon, such a 
one is not willing and desirous to depart. And we do not wonder 
at this. Life after death means in this instance so little. God's 
loving call to the Promised Land has fallen upon deaf ears. But 
the Christian feels otherwise. He too loves and with a purer 
heart the good things in this life. But nothing in all the world, 
not even those dearest to him, can quench the flame of desire 
to depart. Like Simeon of old he is waiting for the day when he 
''shall see him face to face." 

HI. Be strong in faith: Faith is indispensable. All the vic- 
tories we have won, have been won by the grace of God, through 
faith. "And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even 
our faith." And so shall in time the last enemy be overcome. 
In death, by faith, we shall conquer death. Simeon was not 
afraid to die. He was ready and willing to meet the great issues 
of life and death, he knew but one result: that he should be 
returned victor. Faith in whom? In yourself, in arm of man, in 
human power? No! Such a faith means defeat. He who is so 
minded builds his house upon the sand. "And the rain descended, 
and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that 
house ; and it fell : and great was the fall of it. ' ' 

Believe in God, believe in Jesus. The Lord alone can help and 
save us. How noble Simeon's faith! Holding in his arms the 
little child, he praises God for the coming of the Savior of the 
world, the Savior of all the world, the Light of all the Gentiles 
— so Simeon sees him. What reason did he have for his judg- 
ment of Jesus? "He sees in this child no royal form nor dis- 
play, but a form like that of a poor beggar," and yet he elevates 
this child to the proud distinction of being the Savior of the 



OUR DEPARTURE 115 

world. Again we ask, What reason did he have for his judg- 
ment of Jesus ? The answer must be : Faith, faith in God, faith 
in Jesus. Enlightened by the Spirit, Simeon believes what God's 
words and promises declare. He believes in Jesus as his only 
Savior from sin, death and the power of the devil. Happy the 
man who can thus believe: he shall be saved. ''For God so loved 
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
The manner of our departure depends upon our relationship to 
Jesus, God's Son. If we believe in him as our Savior and our 
King and put our lives in God's hand all will be well. 
IV. Confess the Lord : 

' ' Thee, God, we praise, thy name we bless, 
Thee, Lord of all, we do confess; 
The whole creation worships thee, 
The Father of eternity. '^ 

Simeon, with his heart attuned to song and a song upon his 
lips, confesses the name of the Lord. All God's children confess 
him. It is the Lord's will, it is his desire that we confess his 
holy name. And what child of God can refrain from glorifying 
him? What heart full of love toward the heavenly Father can 
remain mute and dumb in his presence ? Mary, Elizabeth praised 
him ; the aged Anna praises him ; in the old covenant, in the new 
covenant, thousands and thousands have glorified and confessed 
the Lord God Almighty. 

The Christian is the recipient of countless blessings; let us 
not forget that. God is the Good Giver, from him all blessings 
flow. Let us thank him for his goodness and mercy, let us confess 
him, his majesty, his power and glory. And as the years come 
and go for us, let our confession become stronger and stronger. 
And when the night draws near, and we must bid the world fare- 
well, let us sing once more — our last song on earth — to the Re- 



116 FUNERAL SEEMONS 

deemer's praise. Such a song signifies a grateful heart, and indi- 
cates a believing soul. Confess the Lord at all times. "Bless the 
Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, . . . who 
redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with 
lovingkindness and tender mercies ; who satisfieth thy mouth with 
good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." 
We have every reason to confess the Lord. Be a witness unto his 
mighty acts, proclaim the sweet Gospel of God's love, sing of 
him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Confess the Lord 
in the hour of death. The martyrs of old went to a cruel death, 
but they died with the name of Jesus on their lips. Our brother, 
whose mortal remains lie here before us, went to his death con- 
fessing the Lord. The goodness of a gracious God had been re- 
vealed to him, and he in turn must confess him. But it is the 
Lord's work. He opens the eye that we may see him. He loosens 
the tongue that we may praise him, and confess his name. 

But what about our departure? What manner of departure 
shall it be? This great, vital question looms up before us. What 
shall the answer be? We must decide for ourselves and decide 
quickly. Come, Holy Spirit, with light divine, enlighten us, that 
we may choose rightly, and lay hold on the crown of life. God 
grant it, for Jesus' sake. Amen. 



RIPENING FOR GOD'S GARNER 

By Rev. 0. K. Solberg 

"Thou Shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of com 
Cometh in in his season." — Joh 5: 26. 

Occasion : For an Elderly Woman 

Life at the longest is brief. How fleet and uncertain! ''What 
is life?" asks the apostle, and he answers: "It is even a vapor, 
that appeareth for a time, and then vanisheth away" (James 
4:16). 

Death makes no distinction of age. It takes life in the bud 
of childhood and in the bloom of youth, as well as in the ripe- 
ness of old age. Beautifully does Longfellow express this when 
he says: 

"There is a Reaper, whose name is Death, 
And with his sickle keen 
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath, 
And the flowers that grow between.** 

And in God's estimation the little child may be as much a 
shock of ripe grain out of his field as the weary and worn pil- 
grim of old age. When he gathers in his harvest, the grain is 
ripe, whether he takes the babe or the aged person. To him 
"one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one 
day" (II Peter 3:8). As Moses says in the ninetieth Psalm: 
''For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when 
it is past, and as a watch in the night." 

But how especially fitting is the figure of the ripe corn, when 
we apply it to the remains of the aged ! There lies the cold form 

117 



118 FUNERAL SERMONS 

with the many deep wrinkles of face and the head crowned with 
the snow-white or silvery gray hair, reminding us of the shock 
of ripe corn that has been cut down at harvest time. 

Doubly true and beautiful is the figure of our text in its 
application, when we are gathered at the casket of a dear old 
saint, as we are today. Not only did she ''die in the Lord," but 
she lived her long life ''in the Lord." Through a long Christian 
life she ripened for the Garner of God and she goes to her grave 
"in full age like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season." 

In infancy she was planted by Baptism into the fertile soil 
of God's kingdom. In childhood she received the daily impres- 
sion of God's sanctifying grace through the prayer, instruction 
and example of Christian parents. Thus under the sunshine and 
rain of God's grace, the bud unfolded into the bloom of youth. 
However, for a few years after her confirmation, she became 
neglectful and careless in her spiritual life, but never wilfully 
surrendered herself to the worldly life that so much influenced 
her young heart. At the age of twenty she passed through a 
spiritual awakening and gave herself up to a more intimate fel- 
lowship with her Savior and a deeper consecration of service. 
Ever since she has enjoyed a life-long assurance that she was a 
child of God. At the same time she realized through the years 
more and more her own weakness and unworthiness and her utter 
dependence upon the Lord, and rested implicitly upon the prom- 
ises of God, knowing that his grace through Christ Jesus would 
save and keep her to the end. In Word and Sacrament she pray- 
erfully sought and found strength to persevere in her fight of 
faith; and in humble, faithful service she endeavored to use her 
God-given talents and time. Thus she matured and persevered 
in a long and beautiful life of consecrated Christian womanhood. 
She reached the ripe old age of ninety. When she realized that 
her life was coming to a close, she rejoiced in her hope of eternal 
rest and reward through Christ Jesus. As she lay there waiting 



RIPENING FOR GOD'S GARNER Hg 

to be called to her heavenly home, some of the last words she 
uttered were these: "I am lying here thinking so clearly of 
heaven." A few minutes after without any pangs of pain she 
fell "asleep in Jesus." Her soul left the house of clay and entered 
into the rest which is in store for the people of God. The shock 
of ripe corn was gathered into God's garner. Kept by the grace 
of God through the springtime of life, she passed safely through 
life's lovely summer season, bore the acceptable fruits of faith 
unto the autumn of life, and then chilling wintry blasts of death 
took her life, and we shall soon lay the cold form to rest under 
the sod, where it shall rest till the dawn of Resurrection Day, 
when she shall rise to new life and eternal summer. How beauti- 
ful is old age under such circumstances ! Beautiful in life ! She 
walked with God. Most beautiful in death ! God took her home. 
The weary pilgrim rests. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is 
the death of his saints" (Ps. 116: 15). 

And what a cheering and staying comfort to those who sur- 
vive ! Parting in death with our loved ones is always painful. 
But when our departed dead go to be with God, the pangs of 
parting are removed by the blessed assurance that they are 
sweetly resting in the heavenly home, and we retain that sweet 
hope of eternal reunion that awaits us beyond death and grave. 

The aged brother and sister, who survive this sainted sister, 
will greatly miss her. But may the sacred memories and the 
sweet, parting words she left you, be a lasting comfort to you. 
And may her Savior continue to be yours. Soon shall come the 
day of eternal reunion. 

We do not only wish to talk about the dead, although it is 
comforting and pleasant to perform this task in the case before us 
today. It is not always thus when we gather about the remains 
of the dead. These services are rather for the living than for the 
dead. Our departed sister has gone beyond the reach and the 
need of our assistance. But we are here to continue our pilgrim- 



120 FUNERAL SERMONS 

age, to fight our battles, to win our victories. We need the les- 
sons of this solemn occasion. And the Lord has a vital message 
to the living in this hour, not only a word of comfort to the 
bereaved relatives, but an important admonition to all who have 
gathered here today. 

Friends, remember, our harvest-time is coming when the 
Reaper of Death will be sent to us. We are daily ripening for 
eternity. Are we ripening for heaven? Are we ready, should 
death suddenly summon us? As the corn must receive rain, sun, 
light and fresh air from time it is planted in fertile soil in spring 
until the fall season, when it stands there with the ripe, golden 
corn in the dry husk — a finished product, so must we day by day 
continue to live in union with Christ, take freely into our souls 
the Bread of Life as it comes to us in Word and Sacrament, bask 
in the sunlight of God's love, breathe the air of his life-giving 
and life-sustaining Spirit, and quench our thirst from the "Foun- 
tain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins," and thus 
growing in the soil of God's grace and deeply rooted by faith in 
Christ Jesus, we increase in faith and love, mature in our spir- 
itual life and bring forth the fruits of faith in faithful Christian 
service. Then and only then are we ready to be cut down by the 
sickle of death and have our soul, like a sheaf of ripe grain, car- 
ried by the angels into God's garner above. We shall not be 
taken unawares, whether we are taken in the prime of life or 
when full of years. We shall be in position to welcome the grim 
messenger of death with a greeting of triumph. Even if, like 
Paul, we shall be cut down in the midst of our busy activities, 
like Paul we shall also realize that our life-work is finished and 
be able to say with him: "I am now ready to be offered and the 
time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there 
is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the 
righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (II Tim. 4: 6-8). 



RIPENING FOR GOD'S GARNER 121 

''But thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through 
our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15: 57). 

Often death may seem to come out of season — before one's 
life-work seems finished, or even before it has been entered upon 
and we say: "What an untimely death!" But it only appears 
untimely or unseasonable to us. God never harvests out of sea- 
son. "When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth 
in the sickle, because the harvest is come" (Mark 4: 29). God's 
grain is always taken in "full age," whether it be an infant, a 
youth, or an aged person. His ways are not our ways. 

Young friend, your harvest-time may soon be here. Are you 
ready ? Are you living the life that counts for good in this world 
and that has promise of reward in the next? It is not merely a 
question of being ready for the sickle, so as to be gathered unto 
God's garner, when we are cut down. But it is of first import- 
ance to live the life that glorifies God and benefits man. It must 
be a life of self -surrender in the fellowship with Jesus. Then you 
will be ripening for heaven and always ready for the harvest. 

My aged friend, what kind of a life have you been living all 
these years of grace? Can it be possible that you are still living 
a selfish and sinful life, still a stranger to the mercy of God in 
Christ? If so, you too are ripening, but for what? Shall I say it? 
Ripening for hell! A terrible ripening! A dreadful harvest! 
To stand at the end of a wasted life with all hopes blasted and 
compelled to say: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, 
and we are not saved" (Jer. 8: 20). The patient Lord again calls 
you today to repent of your sins, turn to him and cry for mercy. 
He loves you still and is willing to save. 

It is dreadful to grow old in sin and ripen for hell. A long 
life in that case, is a twofold cause : it is a curse to all who come 
under the evil influence of such a life; and it is an everlasting 
curse to that lost soul itself. Sad and hopeless to stand at the 
grave of such ones. 



122 FUNERAL SERMONS 

What a contrast is this occasion! This is an occasion for re- 
joicing and thanksgiving as we think of this sainted sister and 
her glorious gain in death. And let it be to all of us a mighty- 
call to reconsecrate ourselves to a full and faithful life in the 
fellowship and footsteps of Jesus. Now that our sister has won 
such a glorious victory, let there be joy among us. 

There is joy in heaven among the angels over this ingathering. 
There should be joy and praise on earth among God's people. 
Rejoice, brother and sister, over the home-going of your dear 
one. There she now awaits you. Let it be your daily prayer and 
endeavor to meet her there. 

Rejoice, believing relatives and friends, over the victory she 
has won. Let heaven be your goal. 

Rejoice, Bethlehem congregation, over the triumphal entry 
this faithful member has made into the church triumphant. Let 
it be your sole and supreme aim and effort under God's guidance 
and blessing to help all your members live the Christ-life, so 
that when they are summoned by death, they may be transferred 
from your membership to the church celestial. 

Her departure is a glorious gain. What a gain to her! To 
inherit the kingdom, to be crowned in glory, to see her Savior face 
to face and to sing his praises forever! It is a gain to you, 
brother and sister, in its deep and sweet sense. Oh, what greater 
good could you wish your beloved sister, than to know that she 
is with God 1 It makes you richer and happier to have her there 
than if she were here. It is a gain to this church to have one 
more of its members transferred. And heaven has gained another 
sainted sinner. God help us all to live the life that is hid with 
God in Christ ! Then friends, whether we live to the ripe old age 
of ninety, or die young, we shall come to our grave **in a full 
age as a shock of corn cometh in in his season." The harvesters of 
heaven, the angels, shall carry us like precious sheaves into the 
garner of God. May we all realize this by the grace of God. Amen. 



THE CHRISTIAN'S COMFORT IN THE HOUR OF DEATH 
By Rev. L. H. Schuh, Ph. D. 

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort 
me." — Ps. 23: 4. 

Occasion: Sudden Death of an Elderly Christian Man 

Members and Friends of our Congregation and of this mourn- 
ing Family: 

The announcement, ''M B is dead," came to this 

community and our congregation like a flash of lightning from 
a clear sky. Last Sunday morning, still in good health, he at- 
tended the services in this house. It was his custom to be here 
and to confess Christ with us and edify his soul. On Monday 
evening the first announcement of the end was made. God in 
mercy did not cut him off in the twinkling of an eye. ''Cut me 
not off in the midst of my days," was a prayer that was ful- 
filled here. But yet what a striking illustration that in the midst 
of life we are in death. There was one day of preparation 
vouchsafed. WliiU^ it was apparent that the death-angel would 
claim him, his reason was imclouded, and he called for the Holy 
Sacrament and the prayers of the church. Then the end came. 
To each man, woman, and child present here today, there comes 
the same message that was announced to King Hezekiah: ''Set 
thine house in order for thou shalt die and not live." 

We do not advocate the theory that leads a man in health 
to buy his coffin and to keep it by him in his house and to fill up 
all his waking hours with visions of the shroud, the bier and the 

123 



124 FUNERAL SERMONS 

grave. If that is piety at all, it is morbid, to say the least. We 
would rather urge upon you to think of living and to glorify 
God by a life of service. The desire to die in most instances is 
sinful and has its root in an unwillingness to bear the crosses laid 
upon us by the Lord, or in despair of God's providence. The Crea- 
tor made us to live and the desire is deep-seated. It comes from 
our nature ; we cannot help clinging to life. 

But do not rush to the other extreme and crowd out of your 
thoughts every suggestion of death, so that the final summons 
may find you wholly unprepared. While earthly things are 
uncertain, there are at least two certainties: *'It is appointed to 
man once to die and after that the Judgment." This was the 
prayer sent up by Moses in the ninetieth Psalm: ''So teach us to 
number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." 
We are sure of death and it is the part of wisdom to prepare 
for it. 

The idea of passing into death is not pleasant to our nature. 
We naturally shrink from it since the supreme desire of man and 
of all other living creatures is for life. We need something to 
fortify us against that hour. In view of our approaching end 
and of our need of support, let us ask the question ; 

What Comforts the Christian in the Hour of Death? 

I. The Assurance that Death cannot harm him: "I will fear no 
evil." Death has the same sources as all other evil. It is one 
of the world's greatest evils. We have a natural dread of it, but 
the Christian to a large extent loses this dread. He needs not 
fear it because it has been robbed of its power. 

The psalmist does not say: ''The valley of death," but, "The 
valley of the shadow of death." It has been reduced to a shadow. 
This may frighten a man, but it cannot harm him. Because a 
Christian knows this, he "walks" through this valley. A terror- 



COMPORT IN THE HOUR OF DEATH 125 

stricken man takes to his heels, while the man who is confident 
that there is no danger walks along leisurely. 

St. Paul holds out the same consolation: *'0 death, where is 
thy sting?" A viper may hiss; but if robbed of its fangs, it 
cannot bite. It may look like the same viper and hiss as it did 
before, but it cannot harm. When a bee stings a man, it usually 
loses its sting; it can still buzz like a bee; it still looks like a 
bee, but it cannot sting again. The shadow of a lion may frighten 
but it cannot devour. The shadow of a sword may alarm, but 
it cannot injure. The shadow of a thief may alarm, but it cannot 
kill. While death is dreadful to the flesh, it cannot harm. 

Jesus has robbed death of its power. He says: "I am the res- 
urrection and the life. ' ' He came unto the world to undo sin and 
all its consequences. Death is the direct result of sin. It was 
unknown until man disobeyed. On the cross the Savior said: ''It 
is finished." The debt of sin was paid and the final proof is his 
resurrrection. He came forth as the Conqueror. Into him death 
thrust his poisoned fangs and he left them there. Now death is 
harmless. In death the Christian walks into a passage ; it is dark, 
it is forbidding, it chills; but it opens into eternal light, and he 
comes out unharmed. Look to the empty grave and if death did 
not harm your Lord, it will not harm you. 

Jesus triumphed over death not only in his own person but 
in others. He raised Jairus' daughter. He conquered at the gates 
of Nain. He vanquished the foe at the grave of Lazarus. And at 
his own death many that slept in their graves came forth and 
appeared in the Holy City. If he could do that for others, he 
can do it for the departed. And he gives the promise that he will. 

Jesus ''became the first fruit of them that slept." In the Old 
Testament when the harvest was ripe one sheaf was cut and 
taken into the temple and waved before the Lord. It was an act 
of consecration. This one sheaf was a representative of the whole 
harvest. The act signified that as this one sheaf was presented 



226 FUNERAL SERMONS 

unto the Lord, so the whole harvest was his. There was more to 
follow. A thing can be first only in reference to the second. If 
there is no second or third, there can be no first. If Christ was 
''the first fruit" there must necessarily be those who follow and 
our resurrection is assured by virtue of his. If we are to arise 
and come back in a glorified state, then death cannot harm us. 

It is self-evident that the unbelieving world finds no comfort 
in this revelation of the Scriptures. For if there is a resurrection, 
then there is a life to come; there is a judgment; there is a re- 
ward both for the believer and the unbeliever ; there is a heaven 
and a hell; there will be the chidings of an accusing conscience 
and the memory of neglected opportunities, of abused powers and 
senses, outraged warnings, of misled companions, and the pros- 
pect of wailing and gnashing of teeth. As a timid, frightened 
lad whistles in the dark for his own encouragement, so the world 
laughs and mocks at the resurrection. But they shall see him 
whom they have pierced. 

For this reason the unbeliever goes into the dark valley quak- 
ing. His teeth chatter; his knees tremble; his frame quakes. He 
goes to meet the king of terrors. He cannot deny the existence 
of death and his exit from the world is at best a leap into the 
dark. * 

But the Christian goes down into the valley comforted. This 
does not necessarily imply an easy death, for he may pass away 
with excruciating misery. The temporal effects of sin may be 
just as great to him as to the unbeliever. But the eternal effects 
are wiped away and his spirit has hope. 

The departed brother had this hope. He expressed it. He 
clung to it in life and in death. And as we lay him to rest we do 
so believing that death did not harm him. 

In the hour of death the Christian has 

II. The Assurance that God is with him: ''For thou art with 
me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." 



COMFORT IN THE HOUR OF DEATH 127 

When a man is hungry, he seeks food. When he is thirsty, he 
finds drink. When he is weary, he longs for rest. When he is 
suffering he wants relief. When he is bereft, he needs friends and 
sympathy. When he is at death's door, he must have comfort to 
give him courage. The psalmist finds this comfort in the pres- 
ence of God at his dying bed. 

There is something in our nature which shrinks from solitude. 
God has made us for companionship" and society, and being de- 
prived of them we are not in our normal state and consequently 
unhappy. How much less fearful the dark night is with but one 
companion! How much less dreary and wearisome a long road 
is with but one wayfarer ! How empty the house is when we are 
in it alone; how just one fellow-being seems to fill it up and to 
take away what haunts us! The presence of a dog, a cat, or a 
bird is a relief! In that journey to the other side not even our 
friends can accompany us, though they might be willing. More 
than one parent and friend has said at the grave; ''Oh, that I 
might accompany you!" But the traveler to that bourne starts 
alone. Alone, did I say? Yes, so far as men are concerned, and 
yet not alone. "Thou are with me." God, unseen to human eyes, 
is there to support the dying. "When thou passest through the 
waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall 
not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou 
shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 
For I am the Lord, thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior. ' ' 

God is with the dying by his gracious indwelling. He is an 
omnipresent spirit and there is no place where he is not. He is 
everywhere by his creative presence, even in the heart of an unbe- 
liever; but he is with the dying Christian in a still different sense. 
There is a sense in which God is not everywhere ; but only in the 
heart of a believer. "Jesus answered and said unto him: If a man 
love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, 
and we will come unto him and make our abode with him." 



128 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



Then there is a sense in which God is not everywhere, for he 
cannot come where he already is. In a gracious way God is only 
where he is loved. There he dwells. 

You have experienced his presence. You have felt his near- 
ness, you have been aware of the Unseen Guest in your heart. You 
have felt his warnings and pleadings, his approval and prompt- 
ings, his comforting and peace. You have communed with him at 
night upon your bed; you have been in the dark without, yet all 
was light within. He has accompanied you upon your journey and 
to your daily task. You have consulted with him in your per- 
plexities and he has shown you the way out. You have been just 
as sure of his leadings as though he worked visibly by your 
side. 

When Stephen was dying, his face was transfigured and he 
saw heaven open before him. How many of God's saints have 
departed this life with the light of heaven upon their faces, a 
smile lighting up the countenance, a light beaming from the i 
eye and the song of hallelujah upon the lips! They have felt | 
God's nearness and they were comforted. | 

God comforts the dying saint not only with his gracious in- = 
dwelling, but also with the promises of his Word. What makes 
death terrible? Sin! But what comfort to hear and to know: 
"Though thy sins be red as scarlet I will wash them whiter than 
wool"; ''the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from 
all sin"; ''Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden 
and I will give you rest." 

It is in the last hour that Satan makes his fiercest attack. He 
paints sin in all its heinousness. He arouses the conscience; he 
raises doubts; he accuses of imaginary crimes; he magnifies faults 
and decries the mercy of God. 

Now I know why the dying call for the minister of the Gospel 
and welcome him to their bedside. How grateful the look, how 
tender the pressure of the hand when he comes and how con- 



COMFORT IN THE HOUR OF DEATH 129 

soling his ministrations ! In the last extremity why did they not 
call for a banker, a lawyer, a merchant, or even a physician? 
Because they had nothing to offer. These and all other men in 
their callings are concerned about the things of this life. But 
when the world is about to pass awaj'" for such a one, he casts an 
anxious look around and in a feeble tone he says: ''Call the 
pastor." There is not a moment lost. No idle questions are 
asked and when the servant of God appears no one is so welcome 
as he. Some one says with a tear-stained voice: ''Pastor, we are 
so glad that you have come. Father has called for you. We all 
need you. We are so helpless in this hour. Come into the death- 
chamber and pray with us and the dying." And in that hour, 
never to be forgotten, there was the adminstration of the Sacra- 
ment and the proclamation of the Gospel. Then the cross was 
lifted up and souls huddled beneath it and as the water and the 
blood trickled down there came unto them the peace of God. 
There was another grateful look, another assuring pressure of 
the hand, and then for a moment a stillness — and all was over. 
A soul plumed itself for its heavenward flight. Yes, I understand, 
why the dying and the bereaved call for the pastor; because he 
comes when all else fails and he comes with the comforts of the 
Word and Sacraments. Thanks be to God who has called me to 
this ministration of comfort. 

If you want God to be with you in death, choose him in life. 
It is possible to be saved "so as by fire." There may be a death- 
bed repentance that is genuine, but will you chance it? Will you 
be without him now, hoping that he will be with you then? 
Will you spend your life in the service of the world and then 
come and offer God the wreckage of a misspent life? Live close 
to God. Enjoy his presence in your heart every day; continually 
hear his comforting message: "Thy sins be forgiven thee," and 
then when you wade into the cold stream, he will be your trusted 
companion who will guide you to the heavenly shore. 



;j^30 FUNERAL SERMONS 

We believe that our departed brother set out on this last 
journey with one companion. As he led the life that is hidden in 
God, we comfort ourselves with the thought that he is now 
with God. May God comfort you all and be with you now, in 
death and in eternity. Amen. 



A SOFT AND DOWNY PILLOW FOR OUR DYING BED 
By Rev. R. C. H. Lenski 

**I will "both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only 
makest me dwell in safety." — Ps. 4: 8. 

Occasion: For an elderly lady who held to her church although 

she received no encouragement from her family, and sank 

into a condition of coma before her end 

The fourth Psalm has frequently been called the Evening 
Psalm, because its closing verse speaks of lying down in peace 
and sleeping under the safe protection of the Lord. David of 
old, the writer of this psalm, did not always lead such a quiet 
life that when the evening shadows fell he could lie down with 
no danger hovering near to strike him in the dark. In his ear- 
lier days he was beset with enemies threatening his life, and in 
after years there were times of real danger often enough, to say 
nothing of the common ills that always hover over us as we pass 
through this life so full of trouble and affliction. But David had 
found a soft and downy pillow to rest his head upon when night 
after night the shadows fell like a curtain around him. That 
pillow he calls Peace. ''I will lay me down in peace, and sleep." 
He means the peace of the soul, the safety of protection, the quiet 
rest without fear of uneasiness which God provides for his chil- 
dren. Ah, blessed the sleeper who closes his eyes night after 
night — and especially also the last night of life! — on the soft 
pillow of God-given peace ! 

It was Jesus himself who spoke of the believer's death as a 
sleep. When Lazarus lay a corpse in Bethany, Jesus said, *'Our 

131 



132 



FUNERAL SEEMONS 



friend Lazarus sleepeth." And the disciples answered, ''Lord, if 
he sleep, he shall do well" (John 11: 11, 12). The apostles of 
Jesus retained the word. St. Paul comforted the Thessalonians 
concerning "them which are asleep," that they should not sorrow 
even as others did who had no hope. A blessed, comforting truth 
is enclosed in that one word ''sleep." It is a true description of 
the Christian's death. As the shadow of the end sinks down over 
him, he does exactly what David did night after night, and 
what every trustful Christian does again and again when the 
weary body needs rest at evening time — "I will both lay me 
down in peace, and sleep; for thou. Lord, only makest me to 
dwell in safety." He pillows his head in God's sweet peace and 
so sleeps calmly and safely till the morning light of the blessed 
resurrection awakens him. 

So lies our dear departed sister now. Years ago she learned 
the secret of peace through faith in Christ her Savior. Alas, she 
often received little encouragement from those about her in hold- 
ing fast to this peace. And there was plenty of affliction during 
the lengthening years to test her fidelity again and again. But 
through it all, often indeed in great weakness and with much 
wavering, she maintained her faith by the Savior's help. She 
knew the preciousness of God's Word and Sacrament, because 
there the peace she prized could be found. Often, in the hours 
of affliction that came to her, she crept under the shadow of 
God's protection and help, and in his grace found the comfort 
and rest of peace. When at last the stroke fell that was to end 
her life, she lay down in peace and slept. And now she still 
sleeps, in God's care, and the pillow of Christian peace is under 
her head — soft, restful, and delightful. blessed peace! — ^may 
it be yours and mine beyond a doubt when night falls this day 
and every day; especially when that night comes which for you 
and me shall precede the eternal dawn. God grant us all 



A SOFT AND DO^NY PILLOW I33 

A Soft and Downy Pillow for Our Dying Bed 

What Makes this Pillow so Delightful? Our text gives the 
answer in the words of one who himself lay upon it and felt its 
delightfulness, and who was inspired of God to sing of it that 
we might hear of it and share his experience. Peace and safety 
make the soft and downy pillow for your dying bed. 

That is far more than the outward peace of the body, such 
as when one goes to sleep amid loving friends, in his own shel- 
tered home, surrounded by every bodily comfort and luxury. 
That, indeed, is delightful, but it is nothing compared with the 
peace and safety of David's pillow. Bodily ease may be alto- 
gether absent, and yet God's peace may pillow the head. There 
may be the poorest bed of poverty to lie upon, a hot and fevered 
pillow invaded by many a burning pang, a lonely couch with no 
loving hand to smooth the pillow, caress the brow, and moisten 
the parched lips. Lazarus, who once lay helpless at the rich 
man's door, surely had but a hovel to lie in when he lay down 
for his last sleep. We know that the dogs alone showed him any 
signs of friendliness; yet he had the pillow of David for his 
dying head; he lay down in true peace, and the Lord made him 
dwell in safety. The trouble with so many of us is, that we are 
over-anxious about supplying the body its greatest possible ease, 
while we forget, or neglect the peace of the soul and the safety 
of the spirit under the shadow of God's grace. The rich man in 
the parable had a bed of luxury to lie upon and friends and at- 
tendants in abundance about him; but he had not the chief 
thing — that soft and downy pillow in which the beggar Lazarus 
rejoiced. 

It is not just peace of mind either that makes the pillow soft 
and downy. There are many satisfied and calm enough in their 
way, and yet have never tasted of the peace of God which passeth 
all understanding. Can you think of anyone more contented with 



134 FUNERAL SERMONS 

himself than the proud Pharisee, of whom Jesus has told us, 
standing in the temple and thanking God for being far better than 
other people? When he came to die we may well think that he 
had no fears to frighten his soul, that he felt so sure of heaven 
that he could die with a smile upon his face. His friends of like 
mind could comfort him by bringing to his remembrance his 
fasting, his tithes, and his alms. And being a descendant of Abra- 
ham, a member of the chosen people of God, he could surely rest 
content — and no doubt did. But alas, all this self-made peace 
of the haughty, self-righteous Pharisee was a delusion of his 
own mind. It was like the feeling of satisfaction in thousands 
of hearts today, when night after night they lie down unworried 
and undisturbed, telling themselves they are rich and increased 
with goods and have need of nothing, knowing not that spiritually 
they are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked 
(Rev. 3: 17). The Word of God, which would give them peace, 
they will not hear nor accept; and so they go on making a false 
peace for themselves. They dream that all is well with them, 
and listen only to comforters who tell them the old Pharisaic 
lie of self-righteousness in some form or another. And so when 
their last night comes, they lie down upon the treacherous pil- 
low of their own making, and close their eyes in apparent peace, 
while true peace — of which Jesus has said: ''My peace I give 
unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you; let not your 
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14: 27) — is 
far from them. If I knew of no better peace than this I would 
cry aloud to you in despair and never attempt to utter a word 
of comfort, for I would have none. 

David had learned what you must learn, and cannot learn 
too well; that the only peace for the soul is God's peace which 
Cometh from the forgiveness of sins. When this is yours through 
faith in Jesus Christ then, and then only, can you lie down in 
peace and sleep in safety. 



A SOFT AND DOWNY PILLOW 135 

As long as our sins are upon us, there is no peace and safety 
for us, no matter how well our bodies may rest and how deeply 
our minds are dulled into false security. Our sins are like a 
great sharp sword hanging over our heads, and death is like a 
knife reaching out to cut the cord in order that the sword may 
fall and pierce us with its terrible sharpness. What will it help 
you to close your eyes against this sword and dream that it is 
not there? Can that be peace and safety? Have you ever read 
the story of the poor victim tied fast in a dismal dungeon with 
a mighty sharp-edged knife swinging like a great pendulum 
over his prostrate body, sinking ever lower and lower, and at 
last beginning to cut the garments of his body? "What peace 
could that captive have as long as that blade swung above him? 
So is the sin that stands charged against us at the throne of 
God. Day by day, night by night as the hour of death comes 
nearer and nearer the moment of eternal doom approaches. Oh, 
the folly to close our eyes in false security and futile hope, till 
it is too late for us to escape! Because sin is such a horrible 
thing, involving eternal destruction, there can be no true peace 
for us until it is removed altogether and all the deadly danger 
that lurks in it is forever gone. 

For David it was gone, and so he could sing his joyous even- 
ing hymn: "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for 
thou. Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety," and in those 
sweet words of the 23d Psalm, when he thinks of his last sleep 
on earth: ''Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me ; thy rod and 
thy staff, they comfort me." David had the forgiveness of sin, 
and so he had peace. Once indeed he cried: ''Day and night, 
O God, thy hand was heavy upon me." But he acknowledged 
his sin, and hid not his iniquity. And behold, the Lord forgave 
the iniquity of his sin. So he could sleep in peace, all fears for- 
ever gone, and the pillow under his head soft and full of down. 



■^^Q FUNERAL SERMONS 

It is the same with the children of God today. Everyone of them 
has had a true vision of sin which is worse than any other foe 
we have. Every one of them has despaired of ever escaping it 
by his own efforts. How shall we undo what we once did against 
God in blindness and folly, in unbelief and wrong? How many 
days and hours of our life have there been when we did not fear 
God, love him, trust in him ; when we followed our own will and 
disregarded his holy and righteous will; when we gave him no 
honor, but honored ourselves ; when we failed to love our fellow- 
men as God had bidden us, and with selfishness, impurity, deceit 
and covetousness sinned against man and equally against God? 
There is only one way to remove all this threatening horror, 
one true way which will be effective and give us real peace 
and safety. God himself has provided it when he sent his Son 
Jesus Christ to our rescue. His blood, shed in sacrifice for us 
upon the cross, cleanseth us from all sin. Whosoever trusts in 
Christ receives pardon for his sin and is forever safe. The moment 
Christ is ours, our sin is gone. In other words, the moment a heart 
afraid of sin turns to Christ to be relieved by him, its hope is 
fulfilled; Christ takes the sin away, and bestows upon it all the 
fruits of his saving work. With Christ every poor sinner is safe. 
Under his cross we find peace, and there is no other place where it 
may be found. ''Therefore being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," writes the 
holy apostle, St. Paul. It is another way of saying what David 
says: "I will both lay me down and sleep: for thou. Lord, makest 
me dwell in safety." With the pardon of Jesus for your pillow 
there will be no thorns or terrors to disturb you, whether you 
sleep from one day to another or from this life into the next. 
This is why our beloved Gerhardt sang: 

**Be Thou my consolation 

And shield, when I must die: 
Let me behold Thy passion, 



A SOFT AND DOWNY PILLOW 137 

When my last hour draws nigh. 
My dim eyes then shall see Thee, 

Upon Thy cross shall dwell j 
My heart by faith unfold Thee — 

Who dieth thus, dies well!" 

And now, dear mourning friends, as you look once more upon 
this sleeping form so dear to you, thank God that he gave her 
that last best gift of his, a soft and downy pillow for her final 
slumber, soft with heavenly pardon and forgiveness, and downy 
with peace and safety which onl}'' such a pardon brings. Then 
think of yourselves — as you lie down tonight, and presently for 
the last night. Have you also that true peace of soul which comes 
from the forgiveness of sins ? Do not rest content until you have, 
and having it, let its delightfulness continually soothe and satisfy 
your soul. 

There is something more to be said here, something which 
thousands have found true by their own fullest experience as 
they rested on this blessed pillow. Let us ask : 

How Does It Feel to Lie Upon It? 

When David says, ''I will lay me down in peace," we must 
distinguish two things in the word peace. One we have already 
spoken of, namely, the establishment of peace through which 
God by his own gracious act makes peace with us, forgiving us 
our sins for Christ's sake and receiving us as his own dear chil- 
dren. That is peace as a sure and certain fact; it is the pillow 
itself, soft and downy, upon which our heads are to rest. Now 
comes the other side of that word peace, namely, the feeling of 
peace, as it sweetly flows through our souls. When peace is 
really established, then we may feel at peace, and our feeling 
will not be self-deception. 

To be sure, disturbing thoughts will sometimes arise, and be- 
cause it is the nature of feelings to fluctuate more or less, our 



138 FUNERAL SERMONS 

feeling of peace may sometimes decrease or vanish altogether. 
The thing for us always to remember, but especially when our 
hearts become disturbed, is that we have peace — we have it in a 
sacred treasure in the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, though 
we may not always feel what we have, or feel fully its sweetness 
and joy, yet we need not fear. The feeling of peace is bound to 
come back when the peace which Christ made for us by his blood 
is ours. Does the memory of our sins disturb us? Were our 
deeds in the past wicked and evil? The blood of Jesus Christ, 
God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin. "He is the propitiation 
for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of 
the whole world" (I John 2:2). As we look upon him bleeding 
for us on the cross, the feeling of peace fills our souls. Ah, it is 
good to have the pillow of divine pardon to rest upon! Does 
great suffering, pain, affliction, trouble, distress, misery oppress 
us? Does it seem as if God had forsaken us, or turned against 
us? Do we feel that peace is slipping from our souls? Look at 
the cross again — all our sins are forgiven! Therefore God does 
not punish us, though he afflict and try us. All his promises of 
help and support, like stars, shine the brighter for the darkness 
of our night and of sorrow. And so in the midst of our troubles 
we can lie down and sleep in peace. God is only trying us: his 
love is over us — all is well. Do we ever feel unworthy of the 
grace of God and all his love? Does our faulty condition stand 
like an accusation before us? Do w^e become disheartened as we 
see the holiness and good deeds of others, besides which our own 
works are so small and insignificant ? The publican in the temple 
had a feeling like that when he would not even lift up his eyes 
to heaven, but smote upon his breast and called himself a sinner. 
God resists the proud, but exalts the humble. As long as none 
of us are received by God for our good works and great deeds, 
but only as repentant sinners for the sake of Christ's deed, you 
can be at peace in all your humbleness. Yes, despair of yourself 



A SOFT AND DOWNY PILLOW 139 

and hold to Christ. Thank God for him — and sweet peace and 
assurance will flow back into your heart. 

Besides the feeling of peace, there will be the feeling of 
safety as we lie upon the soft and downy pillow of David. ''For 
thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety." Perhaps they 
will come — from time to time — these foes that threaten every 
child of God, and endeavor to affright us: the devil, the world, 
and the flesh. What did Luther sing? 

** Though devils all the world should fill, 

All watching to devour us, 
We tremble not, we fear no ill. 

They cannot overpower us. 
This world's prince may still 
Scowl fierce as he will, 
He can harm us none. 
For he is judged — undone; 

One little word overthrows him." 

So sang another of God's children and pointed to the soft pillow 
of safety which the foe is unable to take from us : 

"And where no harms, or dire alarms 
Their cares to me impart. 
Hard by the cross let me recline 
And rest O Christ, on this: 
That thou art mine, and I am thine— 
Thy will is me to bless." 

''In all these things we are more than conquerors through him 
that loved us," exclaimed St. Paul. "For I am persuaded that 
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor 
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from 
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8: 
38, 39). What a blessed thing to be safe, and then to feel safe! 
But remember that all this has its comforting significance 
not only for this life, but also for the approach and hour of death. 



l^Q FUNERAL SERMONS 

As we look forward to our last hour, this sure and certain ex- 
pectation of peace and safety fills us — and must fill us — with 
hope. No man knows just how he will die. Will the grim foe 
come upon us suddenly and bear us away in a moment? Shall 
we lie long and suffer much? Shall we be alone, far from home 
and friends, or in our own beds with gentle hands to minister 
unto us ? No matter : for everyone who is Christ 's own there will 
be that soft and downy pillow of peace and safety, and so we 
need not fear. Our hearts may be filled with deep, satisfying, 
blissful hope. Paul wrote: "We rejoice in hope of the glory of 
God . . . knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and 
patience, experience ; and experience, hope ; and hope maketh not 
ashamed" (Rom. 5: 2-5). God will shape our ends, and, as we 
lie down to our last rest — wherever and whenever that will be — 
all will be well with us in Christ Jesus. It is blessedness indeed to 
feel this hope that maketh not ashamed. 

Peace, safety, hope — God gave our sleeping sister a measure 
of these delightful feelings. She now rests in peace, pillowed in 
safety for her last slumber, and her soul is already tasting the 
eternal fulfillment of hope. And you, my mourning friends, would 
you have these feelings too and know all the blessedness of them ? 
— then learn the divine secret that will give them to jon. Find in 
Jesus that soft and downy pillow for your head of which King 
David sang. Take peace and pardon from his pierced hands. 
Then will you lie down in peace and sleep, for the Lord will make 
you dwell in safety. Amen. 



A PRAYER AND A PROMISE FOR OLD AGE 
By Rev. J. Sittler 

**Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my 
strength faileth." — Psalm 71: 9. 

"Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry 
you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver 
you." — Isaiah 46: 4. 

Occasion: For an Aged Christian 

Beloved in Christ: 

In the life of everyone there are times and seasons for special 
prayer. Such a time is the morning of life, the time of youth, 
when foundations for time and eternity are laid and the choice 
of life's work and meaning confront us, when many and peculiar 
temptations assail us. Such a time is the noonday of life, man- 
hood's and womanhood's estate when, in the midst of life's toil 
and trials we often feel the need of a guiding Presence and a 
sustaining hand. Such a time, too, is the evening of life, the time 
of old age when, life's work almost done, we are "waiting, only 
waiting, till the shadows are a little longer grown," waiting for 
the great change and the end. King David is looking forward 
to the time of old age. He feels that he will then need the Lord 
in a special way and he prays: ''Cast me not off in the time of 
old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." 

Let us reflect for a moment on the appropriateness of this 
prayer. In old age strength fails. The physical strength and 
energy of former days are gone. Weakness, feebleness, and de- 
cline belong to old age. The roses fade from the cheeks, and 
time and trouble leave their unmistakable traces in the furrowed 

141 



142 FUNERAL SERMONS 

face and the stooped form. After all, there are none of us with 
whom time deals as kindly as with Moses, of whom it was said : 
''and he was an hundred and twenty years old when he died and 
his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." One of the 
_firgt and most disheartening discoveries of approaching^ old ag e 
is failing streng tkAnd as the years drag slowly on, disease 
fastens itself more securely on enfeebled bodies, and the hours 
and the days of bodily suffering grow longer and more severe. 
It is then that we realize the appropriateness of the psalmist's 
prayer: "Forsake me not when my strength faileth." 

Now, because of failing strength and the infirmities of old 
age, we also no long ;er find de light in the pleasures a,nd purs uit s 
of the world. The days come when we say, ''I have no pleasure 
in them." For the young, the strong, the well, the world can 
supply many pleasures and pastimes. But there comes a time 
when men see the nothingness and emptiness of all earthly things ; 
when they no longer care to "grovel here below, fond of these 
earthly toys ' ' ; when the world no longer satisfies ; when the real 
character of a selfish life of pleasure becomes apparent. 

"When^that time of disillusionment comes, and comeitmust,. 
what if men have nothing to take the place of these vanishing 
things? WhaFthen? Then in evitably comes dissatisfied and un- 
happy old age. God, in mercy, spare us from that and hear our 
prayer: "Forsake me not when my strength faileth." 

David had, doubtless, seen and observed the miseries of a 
godless old age. He knew some cast-offs, and their pitiable con- 
dition leads him to pray: "Ca st me not off in the time of old 
age"; ami another time_Ji^ejgleads : "Now therefore when I am 
old_and gray; 4ieaded, God. forsak ^m^notT" Old a ge is, mor e 
or less, jorsaken._The friends o f former days often grow cold 
and indi fferent . One by one they la y down their burden to joi n 
the_sileu MiLajorit y ; and a feeling of loneliness steals into th e 
hearts of the old that are left behind. Father and mother are 



PRAYER AND PROMISE FOR OLD AGE 143 

long since gone: children, if there are any, have all left the 
parental roof, and even they ofttimes show an inclination to 
forget. In many cases the dear life companion has been laid 
away, and one or the other remains alone. Old frie nds are get- 
ting fewer and there is little opportunity and inclination to make 



new ones. 



As long as we are surrou nded by friends and gay companions, 
we^can managers^omehowTTo get along wi thout God. Many are 
doing that. But friendless, godless ol d age^-what a wretched 
condition! Ah, how cruel the world is! It beckons you on and 
on, away from all that is true and lasting and then, when your 
step becomes slow and halting, and your strength fails, it casts 
you off! The world soon makes you feel that you are old and 
that it is done with you. Are you going to trust the world then? 

An other trial of old age lies in th e feeling that one is com- 
paratively useless and a consequent enforced period of leisure. 
To one who has led an active and busy life it is hard to sit still 
and see another take his place and do his work. We still have 
the ambition, but not the strength. We are still willing, but the 
world does not seem to need us. What a strange sensation it is, 
the first time it really dawns upon us that the world regards us 
old and is going to get along without us ! It is like a shock from 
a battery. And there come those long periods of e nforcedjejsure 
— the silent watches in the ni gh t ; hou rs t:0 Jb e_ jpfiiit,&itlingjn^_an 
armchair — just thinking, thinking — what ? And what reflections 
mu^ come then ! Many have no~time in their active, working days 
for serious reflection — too busy, no time, no convenient season! 
But in old age meditation and reflection are often forced upon us. 
We see the past — oh, the unforgiving pa st ! How different we 
wish much of it had been! We look into the future — before us 
the yawnin g grave and a lo ng eternit y, both as^ingjmighty_ ques- 
tions _of_us^ God pity a godless old age! How sad,^ indeed, is old 
age without a Savior; earthly props failing and no everlasting 



144 



FUNERAL SERMONS 



arm to lean on; forced to leave this world and no sure hope of 
heaven. All of us, and especially you old men and women, have 
need to pray the prayer for old age : ' ' Cast me not off in the 
time of old age, forsake me not when my strength faileth." 

And this your prayer shall not be in vain. God has given to 
old age a wonderful promise. This i s his promise : ' ' Even to old 
a ge I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry yoji . I have 
made, and I willJb£/^T; eveu-J_will carry, and will deliv er you /' 
Old age needs, above all, a loving Savior and a mighty God. And 
these are promised: ''Even to your old age I am he." In the 
light of this Scripture promise we can face the time of old age 
with a glad, expectant heart. Let old age come: for in failing 
health and waning strength we trust in him, whose help and 
strength never fail, and who is especially near to those who 
are bowed down by the weight of years. Trusting him, we can 
say with the psalmist : ' ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ! 
And why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for 
I shall yet praise him who is the health of my countenance and 
my God." In this glorious Scripture promise for old a ^e,J]i£re 
^ arejthr£e_:w ords whose wonder ful import and meaning corre- 
spond strikingly to the needs of old age. Says the Lord: "_I_will 
^elbrer" — "I wil l bcj ir" — and twice Ee repeats — "I will carry 
you." Are not these just the needs of old age with its failing 
strength ? 

Having th e promise of ^o d let the world a nd worldly pleasure 
go. Godly old age has its compensations. True, so me of_ the 
pleasures of J^^onth . are^ orever g one, many of earth's legitimate 
joys no longer lure us ; but there comes, in place of these things 
that have vanished, a new ple asure^ and a new joy, tha t^o^ipe 
^pirHual^ meditation and contemplation that are_gossible„jQiily 
for_old age. And a mighty expectation and a great longing take 
possession of the soul as it contemplates "the things that God has 



PRAYER AND PROMISE FOR OLD AGE 145 

prepared for those that love him," whose full enjoyment can 
now not much longer be delayed. 

' ''Eyes that grow dim to the earth and its glory 
' See but the brighter, the heavenly glow; 

Ears that are dull to the world and its story 
Drink in the songs that from Paradise flow. 
\ All the rich recompense youth cannot know.'* 

Having God and his promises for our portion, let friends grow 
•ew and cold; there remains one Friend whoneyer fail_s us — *'a 



friend that sticketh closer tha n a broth er, ' ' who has said: '^Lo, 
1 am~witJi yo u always "even unto the end." Of him we sing: 

''What a Friend we have in Jesus, 
All our sins and griefs to bear! 
What a privilege to carry 
Everything to God in prayer. 

"Do thy friends despise, forsake theef 
Take it to the Lord in prayer, 
In his arms he'll take and shield thee, 
Thou shalt find a solace there." 

How beautiful and happy, then, in old age when cheered by the 
presence and the promise of the Savior. 

Dr. A. J. Gordon met an old man one day going to the place 
of prayer with a song on his lips. 

"Aged friend," he said, ''how is it that an old man is so happy 
and cheerful?" 

''Because I belong to the Lord." 

"Are no others happy at your time of life?" 

"No, not one," said he; and his form straightened and his 
countenance glowed. "Listen, please, to the truth from one who 
knows ; then tell it everywhere, and no old man can be found to 
gainsay it — 'the devil has no happy old men.' " 



146 FUNERAL SERMONS 

K_thiaJifi_Jin3^_i]ie first^jcpn^^^ a happy old age is to 

know Je sus Christ . Then our contemplation of sin and death and 
the judgment cannot affright; for we behold the Lamb of God 
which taketh away the sins of the world; and ''there is nowjno 
con demnatio n_jo them which are in Christ Jesus^lL He has risen 
triumphantly from the dead and said: ''He that believeth in me 
even though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever 
liveth and believeth in me shall never die." So we exult: "0 
death, where is thy sting? grave, where is thy victory?" 

Now, the way to have a happy and blessed old age therefore 
jsj _to belie ve Jn our Lord and Savior Jesus Chri st_^The^ time to 
get read y and to lay foundation fo r old age is now, in ou r youn ger 
years. Old age^js harvest time. At harvest time you ^eap_iii§.t 
what you sow: "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall_h^..also 
rea p^ Fo r he that soweth to his flesh shall of the fle s h reap cor- 
ruption^ but he that soweth^ to the Spirit, shall of the_^pirit reaj) 
lile_ everlasting. " Without Jesus Christ, no life is complete. 
Without him, the thought of old age must sadden and depress 
us. But how beautiful is old age cheered by the presence of 
Jesus ! Grateful for the jnerci es of the past, it trusts him with 
the future. The coming days are not filled with gloom and dark 
visions of helplessness and hopelessness : for we realize that more 
and more the earthly shall disappear out of our lives, and more 
and more the heavenly shall come in until at length we shall 
awake in his likeness and be satisfied. And f or those that love 
jiim the Lord j lways^Jiaa-^mng. work to do . It is even so with old 
age. We ^n still pra y an d no thing js_m ore needed in this^ world 
than prayer. We can praise Go d and ,Jifi__ never we aries of_ that. 
We can talk of his good ness and of his mercy to the s ons of men. 
StandingjiLJth^._shadow_of_^ the 

way Jto^ many wayfarers. We can be examples of Christlike liv- 
ing, of patience, of cheerfulness, of hope and trust. Yes, even 
old age, if it be godly, has a mission and a message for the world. 



PRAYER AND PROMISE FOR OLD AGE 147 

It has its compensations, its peculiar pleasures and experiences 
that come at no other time of life. And may God abundantly 
fulfil in all who pray the prayer of old age his wonderful promise ; 
so that w^e may walk towards the westering sun, unafraid with a 
glad heart, knowing that beyond the setting of earth's sun dawns 
the eternal morning. Amen. 



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